Fleshgod Apocalypse are a band who are not afraid to push the boundaries in terms of creating innovative and powerful music. Not only is their music truly unique and idiosyncratic, but Fleshgod are not afraid of experimenting with their own brand of metal, switching between technical death metal and more operatic, symphonic noise. For those who prefer the bands more symphonic and theatrical sound, King will be a guaranteed winner. Fans of Fleshgod’s more aggressive and technical sound however will be sorely disappointed.
Despite the odd groovy riff and Tommaso Ricardi’s signature growls, King has very little to offer on the technical death metal front. Sixth track Mitra is a much more brutal sounding number, with a fantastic opening riff and a strong, chaotically heavy feel throughout and Gravity is also one of the more intense tracks on the album, with a distinct Kataklysm feel to it.
It’s pretty much just Mitra and Gravity that represent Fleshgod’s death metal identity on King, as the majority of the album is an erratic , theatrical speed fest. It could be argued that the album resides much more within the symphonic and even power metal realm at points. Eighth track And the Vulture Beholds and fifth Cold as Perfection are much more operatic and theatrical, with so much inconsistent speed that both resemble horrifying grindcore versions of female fronted wailers With Temptation and Nightwish at points.
Unfortunately, the use of female vocals on King are not a welcome sound on the album. Track seven Paramour (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden) consists of some impressive piano playing curtesy of Francesco Ferrini dreadfully complimented by some fearful female operatic caterwauling. The majority of tracks on King sadly feature a fair portion of orchestral, choir-esque vocal efforts that prove difficult to listen to at times.
The strong atmospherical element on King almost gives the album a film soundtrack feel at points. Opening song Marche Royale possesses an epic, orchestral vibe that would fit in brilliantly on a score to an Indiana Jones film.
King is by far one of Fleshgod Apocalypse’s more interesting and varied releases, however the increased use of clean singing and symphonic sounds may cause the bands fan base to change dramatically. Those of us who prefer Fleshgod’s tech death and growling work are best to give King a miss totally, but if symphonic metal, clean singing and female vocals are your thing then King is the album for you.
(6/10 Eilish Foxen)