Release Date: May 24, 2019
Italian grandmasters of orchestral death metal Fleshgod Apocalypse are finding spontaneity rewarding on new album, Veleno. Over the past four albums – previous album, King (2016), floored fans and critics alike – the Francesco Paoli-led trio have planned every step, discussed every note, and ensured every salutation to Paganini, Bach, and Mozart was met with an equally brutal death metal equivalent. On Veleno, which is Italian for ‘venom,’ they needed a change of approach (and pace). To achieve this, Fleshgod Apocalypse distanced themselves from distraction – lineup changes, tours, and the frustrations of day-to-day life – unboxed the songwritingprocess, and let the inspiration flow freely.
Formed in 2007 in Perugia by Paoli, bassist/vocalist Paolo Rossi, guitarist/vocalist Cristiano Trionfera, and drummer Francesco Struglia, Fleshgod Apocalypse quickly set off a firestorm of interest with debut album, Oracles, in 2009. But it was follow-up album, Agony (2011), where the Italians became maestros of orchestral death metal. Through the use of woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion, Fleshgod Apocalypse transformed their technical death metal, effectively widening the sonic palette.
Fleshgod Apocalypse then took the effort over to Grammy-nominated Jacob Hansen (Volbeat) at Hansen Studios in Denmark for mixing and mastering.
With the best possible production job, real orchestral ensembles—a full string quartet, a classical percussionist, and a baroque choir were part of the process—and guest musicians in the shape of Maurizio Cardullo (Folkstone) and Daniele Marinelli playing Uilleann Pipes and mandolin, respectively, Veleno is Fleshgod Apocalypse’s masterwork. From the tense opening barrage of “Fury” through the scenic vistas of “Monnalisa” to the brooding if heroic “Embrace the Oblivion,” Veleno encompasses the greatness of the albums prior but opens up whole new opportunities—sonic and aesthetic—for Fleshgod Apocalypse. In fact, it’s an album, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat), that will have dedicated fans frothing (“Worship and Forget,” “Carnivorous Lamb”) to evangelize Fleshgod Apocalypse to new hordes, while introducing critics to the group’s now-fully realized score-like qualities (“The Day We’ll Be Gone,” “Monnalisa”).
As for what’s next, Fleshgod Apocalypse are beyond excited that Veleno isn’t just their best album to date but that it’s a paradigm shift for the Italians. That it includes a multi-faceted lyrical concept, direct (and important) cultural ties to their home country, and a deeply symbolic cover painting by Travis Smith (Opeth, Overkill) form a splendid coda, the likes of which have yet to be experienced on a Fleshgod Apocalypse album.