I got a headache. A big one. So, time to break out that Aspirin, will ya. Or I’ll probably die from metal poisoning, or – worse – turn into a metal zombie.
And this after only one full listen of Veleno, the newest heap of mighty Death Metal from the flamboyant Italians of Fleshgod Apocalypse.
For those who thought that King contained enough full metal jacket for a lifetime, come again. Because Veleno is an all-out attack on your metallic sensory system. A friggin’ 62 minutes of full, frontal assault, filled to the brim with sharp-edged steel. The giant brother of outfits like The Black Dahlia Murder and their ilk.
So I guess, flamboyance just went out of the window some, and in comes some real crust. A kind of bare-bone metal that always somehow seems to carry a flavor of crimes Rotting Christ committed lately.
Whilst Veleno‘s predecessor prepared you for the onslaught with some kind of an intro, this thing here starts straight with something very subtly called Fury. A somewhat heavily chiseled piece of steely metal that they bang around your ears at every millisecond of the record. It indeed does take off like Balfor rocking by the fire, when the night is too cold to really play your guitar properly.
Yet, this is undeniably Fleshgod Apocalypse and a direct send-off from their previous contribution to metal fame. But – behold – they do that by taking the intensity to the next level, and deliver it at a speed Niki Lauda could not have done better in his prime.
You’ll find Death Metal on a melodic, even symphonic foundation with thrash bursts, industrial flavors and wild riffing galore. There’s even the odd solo here and there that interjects itself into the mayhem. Then you suddenly got a choir chiming in, one that valiantly tries not to drown in a sea of frantic drum blasts and crazed opera chanting.
Hells Bells! That’s metal on a tastily delicious, yet savage rampage right there.
And you haven’t even been to visit with the Carnivorous Lamb yet. This one takes off with some symphonics, but then it adds another layer of brutality. And I could kind of drone on like that for the rest of the record, until there will be no ink left in this particular pen.
After a while, however, you’ve got to ask yourself, if this is not kinda overdoing it in the metallic department. This is just metal rage taken to a new plane of existence, kind of to the nirvana of all things overly complex. Borne out of a mixing board with a gazillion of tracks that will allow you to do – well – anything. Even if, let’s admit it, Monnalisa seriously errs on the mainstream side.
If, and only if, the studio occupants will be able to produce some reasonable separation. And you know what? They kind of did. Whilst Veleno is overly loud like as in extremely loud, I could not detect a lot in that exquisite metal confusion to be really amiss. So, the mix and the master do hold their muddy water, and that is a stellar feat in itself.
I guess what saves the cake on this record is the variation. You don’t get only the frenzied and somewhat blackened Death Metal shenanigans. But Fleshgod Apocalypse break it wide open with succulent melodic interludes, and Paolo Rossi and his disturbing screamed clear voice vocals. The ones that fit in well with the downright evil growls of one Francesco Paoli. And yep, he took over from Tommaso Riccardi who left the building in the meantime.
Yet, really claiming the prize this time are the operatic parts. King forever disgusted me with Veronica Bordacchini‘s tribulations. And those were just plain bad, as in very bad.
Now, trepidation reigned when I saw this very same Veronica appear again. But – behold the harbinger of bad news – this time things just worked. To the point that my cold metal soul warmed up some to her contribution. Her singing now adds this absurdly baroque flavor to a style that could (or would) be overly brutal and so metal nobody will come to visit anymore. Apart from the diehards that will never leave anyway.
Not that Embrace the Oblivion would not drive that point home somewhat cruel, just after she shone with The Day We’ll Be Gone. But Veleno really is all about this rapid-fire change from cold-hard metal to clear vocals, which then descends into stuff good for symphomaniacs of the harsh kind. And it is this intense mix of metal shards and other elements that really exudes this animal magnetism of sorts. This subconscious pull to continue on with a record that is truly often way too far out in this ominous swamp of its own making.
Lastly, let me break a lance for the one cover on Veleno. We quite enjoyed the Rammstein tale Reise Reise that appeared without warning. Perhaps Fleshgod Apocalypse should try themselves on the industrial altar of the NDH movement. They’d make quite an impression, I am sure.
So finally, here we have this big, fat Italian wedding. One administered by Fleshgod Apocalypse on a poisonous bed of hot, steely metal of all kinds. For sturdy metal adepts, Veleno will go down as one of the best albums that this band ever did. Whereas the more flamboyant folks will really lean towards the kingly delights its predecessor offered.
As to this crew, we found Veleno a very tasty, but lava hot mountain of razor-sharp metal. One that we first had to climb. And only from its top were we able to really admire its rough-hewn beauty.
In other words, Fleshgod Apocalypse kinda went back to their roots. And delivered a friggin’ and quite roughly produced piece of Extreme Metal, spattered with all kinds of operatic and acoustic shenanigans that the trve metalhead will surely cherish.
Ed’s note: Congratulations – the record successfully made it onto the Intermittent Digest – Tome IX! Oh, and there’s a new band on the block. Examinis and their brand of Symphonic Death Metal just made their mark. And we found it tempting.
Get dat tune: