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(62:20; Nuclear Blast)
Between 2016’s ‘King’ and 2019’s ‘Veleno’, Fleshgod Apocalypse went through some major changes in that both guitarist/vocalist Cristiano Trionfera and vocalist/guitarist Tommaso Riccardi left the band for personal reasons. So for the album, the band stripped down to a three-piece in Francesco Paoli switching back to vocals and guitars as he did in the early days as well as providing drums, along with co-founder Paolo Rossi (clean vocals, bass) and Francesco Ferrini (piano, orchestrations). To be able to perform live they have also brought in drummer David Folchitto (Stormlord) and guitarist Fabio Bartoletti (Deceptionist), for when they hit the boards. Given the changes in personnel it perhaps isn’t surprising that there has also been a slight change in approach to the music, in that although they are still using an orchestra and choirs they are now there more as support to the main death attack as opposed to be as closely linked as they were previously. But yet again they are producing music which is unlike many others in the scene, which is really surprising given the line-up moves, and here they are again using real orchestral ensembles - a full string quartet, a classical percussionist, and a baroque choir - and guest musicians in the shape of Maurizio Cardullo (Folkstone) and Daniele Marinelli playing uilleann pipes and mandolin. They move between the Wagnerian Beethoven grandiosity which involves all elements into those which are more like symphonic death with orchestral support. Fleshgod Apocalypse are continuing to break musical boundaries and create something which is very special indeed. There is an easy commerciality within the songs, melodies which belie the brutality, and a fragility which is bolstered by something very concrete indeed. The band say this is their best release to date, and they just may be right.
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