Fleshgod Apocalypse build on their past releases, making ‘Labyrinth’ one of the years’ most impressive symphonic death metal records. Chances are you’ve at least heard of these guys. This five-piece bring together some exciting elements to surpass the usual confines of the death metal genre. With three releases under their belt before, ‘Labyrinth’ (one of which the rather well-received, ‘Mafia’ this Italian act release an album that continues the band’s forward momentum, ‘Labyrinth’ is the band’s opus thus far with an even balance of each element. Fleshgod Apocalypse are coming into their own while re-affirming the musical ingenuity that found them in such a firm spot on the metal scene. Put all of this together and it’s easy to see why Fleshgod Apocalypse are continuing to turn heads in this modern day of extreme metal and continue to earn the respect of the extreme metal scene.
When compared to past releases, ‘Labyrinth’ is more of a natural progression for a band already doing well. ‘Agony’ saw the band develop the symphonic sound, but it sounded forced, like it was testing the water to measure the temperature. Thankfully, Fleshgod Apocalypse have matured, they know how hot the water is and with the inclusion of keyboardist and orchestral master, Francesco Ferrini only adds to the expansiveness that transcends the past works of the band and the symphonic element takes on a whole new level of depth for a band that’s doing more than throwing a couple of cliche features into a mix and expect it to work. It shows that Fleshgod Apocalypse are actually thinking about the music, not just playing for the hell of it. Now in 2013, the music is almost euphoric, rivaled only by the grandeur created by this incredible sonic extreme metal onslaught.
Be warned, ‘Labyrinth’ isn’t a bash and dash effort. With a run-time of almost fifty-five minutes, ‘Labyrinth’ is Fleshgod Apocalyse have made an album as monolithic as the combination of sounds being put together. ‘Labyrinth’s eleven tracks are a show of power, force and perfectly match the atmosphere found throughout the record. This wasn’t made for easy listening, rather it’s a show of a band maturing in the best possible way, excelling in a field of extremity. In places, the album does feel repetitive, samey even but in reality ‘Labyrinth’ is far from a recycled affair and there is a depth hiding under the layers of blast-beats, orchestral vices and well-executed vocal phrasing. Highlights are peppered throughout the length of the record, from the crushing opener, “Kingborn” to the mythic-ally inspired, “Minotaur (The Wrath Of Poseidon)”. The tracks show contrast, groove, room for the listener to band their heads. It’s not a matter of simply seeing who can write the fastest riffs, that ship sailed a while ago. Poseidon has a wrath, it’s complex, do you think you can handle it?
Eleven tracks, coming just under an hour. This is how Fleshgod Apocalypse are building towards the future, ‘Labyrinth’ is the foundation of a band that now knows what exactly to do. It may have taken them an EP and two full-lengths to get this far but there’s no denying that this band has become a powerhouse of the extreme metal community. Overall, Fleshgod Apocalypse have topped themselves. They’re still working out the kinks, but the issues are smaller, and matter less. ‘Labyrinth’ is a successful release. It’s enjoyable from start to finish and there’s a lot to take in. In some places the groove is infectious, shifting from fast paced death to traditional groove metal. There’s enough here to maintain the listener all the way through and back again. ‘Labyrinth’ will sweep you away.
02. Minotaur (The Wrath Of Poseidon)
04. Towards The Sun
07. The Fall Of Asterion
10. Under Black Sails