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Fleshgod Apocalypse: Labyrinth

Italian symphonic death metal act Fleshgod Apocalypse sure know how to pack some 'epic' sounds onto their albums. Their latest Nuclear Blast release, Labyrinth, is a concept album based on the mythological labyrinth of Knossos, and features a wide assortment of choirs, operatic female vocals, and orchestral keyboard arrangements to go along with their brutal death metal attack. Is it all 'over the top' and bombastic to the max? Well, you betcha, but then again, Fleshgod Apocalypse were never really known for their subtlety, so this should come as no surprise.

Opening cut "Kingborn" kicks things off in fine fashion, with riffs aplenty and symphonic keyboards flying about the mix while death metal growls and female operatic clean vocals battle for supremacy. It's all epic yet brutal at the same time, though for some listeners there might just be a tad too much going on. I get the same feeling on the busy & bombastic "Elegy", though there's a more straightforwardness to "Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon)" that's almost rather refreshing. There's a melodic, almost gothic twist to "Towards the Sun" that interjects nicely with the crushing death metal riffery, and the rampaging "Pathfinder" is a speedy extreme metal blaster that succeeds on all fronts. Most of the keyboard arrangements on Labyrinth are quite breathtaking (just check out "Warpledge") and the band do a great job of mixing those parts with sledgehammer drum blasting and complex guitar riffs & fills. The powerful yet haunting "Under Black Sails" basically puts all the elements together for a grandiose effect, and shows why these guys are seen as one of the more unique bands on the scene.

Though much of Labyrinth is perfectly executed and quite impressive, one aspect that doesn't really work well are the layering of death growls with both high pitched male vocals and the operatic female vocals in spots. It is done so similarly throughout the album that it gets somewhat monotonous; I'm all for the inclusion of clean vocals and even the opera styled passages when needed, but it's almost used too often here, in sections where the standard death growls more than suffice.

That being said, this is a very adventurous and bombastic affair that will no doubt please loyal Fleshgod Apocalypse fans, and should as well appeal to anyone into symphonic, progressive extreme metal.

Track Listing
1. "Kingborn" 6:06
2. "Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon)" 4:47
3. "Elegy" 4:18
4. "Towards the Sun" 5:42
5. "Warpledge" 4:32
6. "Pathfinder" 5:12
7. "The Fall of Asterion" 4:39
8. "Prologue" 1:07
9. "Epilogue" 5:44
10. "Under Black Sails" 7:26
11. "Labyrinth" 4:25
Total length: 53:58

Added: September 2nd 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2178
Language: english

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