Fleshgod Apocalypse King

Fleshgod Apocalypse King
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Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse have had a bit of a hit-and-miss history. The technical/symphonic death metal band's 2009 debut, Oracles, was fresh and instantly intriguing, while their 2011 followup, Agony, was disappointingly over-the-top and a bit of a mess. They redeemed themselves with 2013's Labyrinth, which toned things down and found the band streamlining their sound for a much more focused release. The band's latest album, King, follows that same path.
 
King is thoughtfully composed and well-executed, combining stunning orchestral elements with the devastating speed and volatility of death metal. "Healing Through War" and "Mitra" are filled with dense riffs and obliterating machine-gun blasts, while "And the Vulture Beholds" and "Syphilis" are saturated with classical components.
 
"Paramour (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden)" is entirely classical, featuring opera singer Veronica Bordacchini, and while it's a gorgeous track, it's strikingly out of place on the album. Highlights "Cold As Perfection" and "A Million Deaths" combine the best of both worlds particularly well though, blending symphonic beauty and brutal chaos without going overboard on the complexity. (Nuclear Blast)