Review Summary: "Oracles" is a promising debut and solid first attempt by Fleshgod Apocalypse at combining technical death with traditional classical aspects.
With technical death metal recently becoming the genre du jour, over saturation of the genre with mediocre bands is rapidly occurring. However there are still some bands who are trying to bring new aspects to the genre and keep it interesting.
With their debut album Oracles
, Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse present a combination of technical death metal interspersed with classical influences. These usually take the form of orchestral/piano passages at the start and end of the songs. Two examples of this are in “As Tyrants Fall” and “Embodied Deception”. The latter features a rapid piano run which is abruptly interrupted by the guitar intro riff. Wheras the former features a orchestral passage akin to something heard in “Swan Lake”. There are a number of other similar parts in other tracks which follow the same style, but most notable of all is the album’s title track, which is a two and a half minute piano piece which closes the album. The track highlights exactly what the band are trying to achieve. Personally, I think these elements are well used and help to add some diversity to the album and serve as a mood setter for the track, or to capture the mood at the end of the track. However some may feel that they are forced and just tacked on to provide something new.
The rest of the band’s sound revolves around the standard technical death metal riffs comprised of tremolo picking, stuttered staccato riffs, sweeps and harmonized lead parts. These are all performed solidly by both guitarists (one of whom also recorded the drums) and the tracks are written in a way that makes them catchy and memorable. There is enough variety in the riffs and leads to keep listeners interested and to prevent the songs from becoming indistinguishable from each other, it's clear that the band intend the guitars to be the focal point of the majority of the tracks.
The guitars are backed by a solid rhythm section of the usual death metal drumming of rapid fire double bass and blast beats. These are solid and provide a good foundation for the guitars to work over. However the bass is buried in the mix and is rarely heard apart from a few choice moments (Mid section of "Retrieveing My Carcass"). Despite this, the album still sounds great but may dissuade fans of technical death bass.
FA’s vocals, which are handled by guitarist Cristiano and bassist Paolo, sound similar to Necrophagist, Arghoslent and numerous other death metal bands, with the vocals being performed in one low register growl. This fits FA’s musical style and lyrical themes, which revolve around the standard morbid death metal themes and definitely serve as another instrument, mainly letting the guitars take centre stage. There is definitely nothing new brought to the table with the vocals and whilst some variation in future releases may benefit the band, the current style works well on this album.
Overall Fleshgod Apocalypse have produced a solid debut with Oracles
. The album proves that the fusion of tech death and classical pieces can work well, and that technical death can still produce decent bands. The definite highlights of the album are the guitar work and the classical sections, however I would like to see the band experiment more with fusing the two styles and possibly with adding some vocal variation.
is a solid debut and building point for the Fleshgod Apocalypse. The album will please most tech death and standard death fans. With enough variety to keep them interested for the full 40 minutes, as well as containing enough nuances and memorable parts to warrant decent replay value.
-As Tyrants Fall
-Retrieving My Carcass
-In Honour of Reason