Fleshgod Apocalypse
Labyrinth


2.5
average

Review

by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (61 Reviews)
August 24th, 2013 | 93 replies


Release Date: 08/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although labyrinth is a marginal improvement on Agony in terms of composition and production, it's uncompromising extravagance brings the whole experience down a notch.

After Fleshgod Apocalypse dropped the polarising Agony in 2011, they’ve been heralded as the world’s premier symphonic death metal band by fans and lambasted as in insult to the genre by purists. There’s no question that symphonic elements are a touchy subject in the death metal community, and Fleshgod really do take it the extreme, taking some scorching tech instrumentation and clashing it with some incredibly bombastic orchestral arrangements. What Agony suffered from (besides the awful production) was a lack of boundaries, as the band was so intent on making it as relentless and epic as possible that it practically suffocated itself. With their latest release, Fleshgod have addressed some of the compositional issues, but their devotion to all things “epic” still renders Labyrinth a tiring listen.

Right from the get-go you’ll notice there is an issue that sticks out like a sore thumb, the production. Although the drums have been toned down a touch and the guitars have a bit more bite, the symphonic elements still take precedence over everything else. I guess this comes as no surprise, Fleshgod have already signalled their intent on becoming a full blown symphonic metal act, and thus the symphonic elements take the lead role. The guitar-work on this album is stellar as to be expected, which leaves me baffled as to why the guitarists have chosen to downplay their own performances by virtue of the mixing. The riffs that can be deciphered are air tight and a lot of the leads and solos are not only intricate but very enjoyable. Of course, we have no problem hearing Francesco Paoli’s drumming, as he belts out his usual triggered barrage of umpteen hundred BPM blast beats and precise but uninteresting fills. This is the problem these guys have created for themselves, as giving more priority to their death metal elements goes against their artistic vision of becoming a homogenous fusion of two diametrically opposing musical styles.

The lack of emphasis placed on riffs will greatly frustrate many purists, but credit where credit is due, the symphonic arrangements and compositions are an improvement over those on Agony. It would sort of defeat the purpose of listening to a symphonic metal act to complain about the symphonies themselves, and once you take in the heavily layered and complex string sections you’ll find this album has a little more substance than you initially suspected. Songs such as “Kingborn”, “Towards the Sun”, “Warpledge” and the “Prologue/Epilogue” two parter contain some properly exhilarating sequences, which are balanced out nicely by some necessarily frequent lead breaks. The female operatic vocals are a nice addition at first, but begin to grate on you as they’re employed recurrently and inappropriately. Unfortunately, the album still suffers (albeit to a lesser degree) from the same problem that Agony did, which is that the onslaught begins to wear thin over the course of the whole album, creating a body of work that pales in comparison to the sum of its parts.

Ultimately the band would benefit if they reverted back to the style they sported on Oracles and once again became a tech act with symphonic elements rather than a full on incorporation of the two. Labyrinth is an improvement on Agony but that doesn’t mean it’s a step in the right direction. Unlike their Greek contemporaries Septic Flesh, who allow both their death metal and orchestral components to breath, Fleshgod fail to understand that two clashing at full blast for an hour at a time will always have its limitations. While Labyrinth is a relatively enjoyable listen, the unrelenting dedication to all things extravagant still brings the whole experience down a notch.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2013


15028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Ended up begrudgingly enjoying this more than I expected. Hope you all like the review.

Digging: Kassel Jaeger - Toxic Cosmopolitanism

tommygun
August 24th 2013


25140 Comments


pos

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2013


15028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

thanks tommy ily

FrozenVain
August 24th 2013


2472 Comments


yeh dude this was spot-on, pos'd

MO
August 24th 2013


18999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice rev. could give two shits about this band though

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2013


15028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, if symphonic metal isn't your thing then steer well clear.

Mister Twister
August 24th 2013


1782 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I obviously disagree but still, pos.

I'm just a huge fan of symphonic elements. Probably should jam Septic Flesh so I can see how misguided I am.

Digging: Panikk - Unbearable Conditions

CaptainDooRight
August 24th 2013


30252 Comments


I feel this is their weakest effort I'm terms of production. Overall, solid review. Pos'd.

Tyrael
August 24th 2013


20946 Comments


Agreed with captain, the production was shoddy at best on their two previous efforts but it didn't break the music as much as it does here

I still have a soft spot for this band

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

DrHouseSchuldiner
August 24th 2013


5643 Comments


nice rev jac pos'd
i've never heard anything by this band where i should start?

Tyrael
August 24th 2013


20946 Comments


^ Mafia for sure

DrHouseSchuldiner
August 24th 2013


5643 Comments


thanks tyrael will have this dl'd for tonight

climactic
August 24th 2013


19849 Comments


agony was cool, ill check this

FrozenVain
August 24th 2013


2472 Comments


Septic Flesh>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>FGA
like holy shit

RenegaDrifter
August 24th 2013


199 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agree to disagree!

TheTrueTurrican
August 24th 2013


10 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Had rated this higher after the first few rotations. After some days of regularly listening to it, I'd say it's their worst. Really tried to like it, but I concur they were much, much stronger on Oracles.

Good review, pos'd.



Hawks
August 24th 2013


35838 Comments


Band sucks.

evilford
August 24th 2013


22946 Comments


Nice rev, pos'd

Haven't heard this band and it doesn't sound like I want to

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2013


15028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yeah you'll probably hate them, check the Mafia EP and that will tell you all you need to know.

mindleviticus
August 24th 2013


8326 Comments


album cover looks sweet might check this even though im a bit skeptical from their previous album



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