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Fleshgod Apocalypse: Labyrinth

The other day, I got my review copy of the new Fleshgod Apocalypse album, Labyrinth. It was perfect timing considering a few conversations I had recently as to why this band is so widely enjoyed. For me, it’s the combination of aggression in fast paced blast beat driven material, which is backed by over-the-top symphonics that often throw back to the gothic era. I had checked out the lead single, “Labyrinth,” and I enjoyed it, showing once again why this band is one of the more important Death Metal bands today. However, I brought the album along for a car ride, and I was quite surprised at what I heard.

Agony really blew me out of the water with the amount of cacaphony, and yet how it all made perfect sense. This time around, however, the mayhem seemed to be quite limited. The symphonic performances were actually quite limited, though the additional clean female operatic vocals were a nice touch. But, for the most part, this effort seems to focus more on the blast beats. The drums completely dominate everything, and it left me taken back a bit.

No, Labyrinth is not a bad album, but neither did it make that much of an impact. It just hit me like a typical blast beat fueled assault with some additional gimmick. Think if you took some modern Black Metal bands that just blast away on he drums from start to finish, and decided to throw in some Dimmu Borgir keyboards for good measure. That’s about what this recording sounded like, and it just isn’t all that awe-inspiring. In fact, it ends up rather bland in many spots, finding “Kingborn” and “Towards the Sun” being the two that really stuck out the most.

Now, I have a few tracks left to check out, having to step away at “The Fall of Asterion,” but at this point it’s not too promisin. I need to sit down and give it my full attention, as you can’t really pass judgement on whether an album is good or not by an initial spin in the car in the middle of rush hour considering your attention is on the d-bag tail gating you and the ass that cut you off and nearly caused you to t-bone him. But, when it comes to my road rage, Labyrinth did still keep me calm in the face of the ignorance on the road, so that’s always a good thing for any fan of metal.

Fleshgod Apocalypse
Fleshgod Apocalypse

Digital material for this article provided by Nuclear Blast Records.