Year : 2011
Genre : Symphonic Technical Death Metal
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Origin : Italy
Rating : 9.3 / 10
Buy it now
If you want to come up with one of the most masochistic schemes a random mind could conceive to kill time with, then counting the number of bass drum beats this here release from Italy's premiere symphonic death metal act features, is a choice you can surely and safely rely on. Agony packs pretty much maximum level intensity by playing out even the one last, secretive, remaining remembrance of holy shit out of death metal, making this outing nothing less than a - in respectful freestyle after mixed martial arts legend Ken Shamrock - hymn to living death.
This album, while represents, maybe, even defines a kind of over the top extremity, brings with itself subtle tools of profound elegance to project light on the monumental sonic surface it emerges to crush you to a sticker as. Once you are ready to open your mind to the fact that Fleshgod Apocalypse writes the story into a Space Odyssey monolith using titanium jackhammers, - with a casual symphony as accompaniment - then you are good to sit on board, and are likely to experience something you and your receptive mind had no part of before. Be wary though, because these jackhammers are ever-present and persistent enough to put a superbly short end to the lazy ear. To these ears, only a classic saying remains, one which you can find at the closure of this review. Read more to find out - among other things - what that is.
Agony is a layered affair, as it consists of two simultaneously occurring flow of autonomous and co-existent events. You have a functional, full-blown and tastily orchestrated symphony, caught up in the relentless machine gun fire administered with almost no end by the band's tremendous death metal minigun arsenal. The question here isn't if this rampant spin features parts of double bass - the question is, if it features parts that have no double bass. Sure, it does. The LP's raw power charisma is constructed solidly on a sober sense of balance regarding jackhammer-engagement periods, as the mere rumble the traditional death metal components - drums, guitars, bass - are producing herein, no doubt reign as the most pronounced presence of the affair. This rampantly mad and madly rampant death roar is teased constantly by the underlying background symphony, that which never loses its capacity to enrich, and, in a sense, to assuage the relentless mayhem of the persistent death rumble addressed above.
To topple an already quite functional concept, Agony exhibits the keen and quite fruitful readiness to give the definitive finger to its own nature on occasions, with nothing else in mind than to submit to the much more tenderly silhouetted aspects of music. The record features smartly positioned safe zones, so to speak, musical spaces that will entertain the ears with extremely straightforward classical intermezzos. Having zero concept nor awareness of the act of deceit, they come with a white flag, operated by the unalloyed intent of throwing a grasp of recreational breath into the mix here and there. Fortunately, these intermezzos have the tendency to surprise you even while the record is having one of its notorious onslaughts. Agony exhibits superb craftsmanship and features advanced compositional techniques, venturing forward on occasions to such surprising and functional territories as opera, and, rather efficient opera at that. How it is efficient? It is such, because the tracks feature only little glimpses of it, but those glimpses are reflected in eyes you will remember, eyes you want to soak yours into again.
Though it is easy to regard the aforementioned rumble created by the drums and guitars as a sonic mass, on careful observation, the mere immensity of this mass starts to account its own shapes and forms, and this act of consciously "going-after-it" is what is required on YOUR part in order to get the full experience the outing is capable to offer as its ultimate value. It is a waste of good suffering to resonate the evident and state that Agony is not an easily accessible record, primarily because being easily accessible is exactly the last one of its concerns. Fleshgod Apocalypse delivers the memorable full musculature hybrid of symphony and extreme metal, and the magic simply is formed by the sheer sonic volume these combined elements are rabidly occupying. Symphony is elegantly liquidated in its nature, and it keeps its capacity to live and shine even if a wartank is in constant siege beside it. Death metal is wartank, symphony is oil in its engine. A combination that might very well emerge as one of the most significant deliveries of the year. Oh, and, for the lazy ears, and, for the lazy ears only : this is better than it sounds to - you. Listen again, maybe?
Rating : 9.3 / 10
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