What is that old saying? A change is as good as a holiday. That may certainly be the case for the mighty Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse. The band may have now been on the scene for over a decade but the anticipation that surrounds the release of their five album – Veleno – is something that they have never seen before. That is not only because it is three years since their last album – King – but also because during that time the band has had a huge line-up change.
Gone is lead vocalist Tommaso Riccardi, gone is guitarist Cristiano Trionfera, but the big change sees drummer Francesco Paoli step up to become lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, a move that fans need not worry about because it actually breathes new life into the band in a way that few would expect. The result seems to be a band that is willing to take more risks and that results in being a good thing for Veleno.
The best way to sum up Veleno is free and epic. This album sees Fleshgod Apocalypse hit heights they haven’t reached before and the album itself sounds like a work of art from an Italian maestro. The album sees the band try so many new things that you simple never know what is going to happen next. Opening track ‘Fury’ begins with Gothic chants before delving into some of the most savage death metal you could imagine. Then the chaos really begins with demonic screams, deep growls and out of control instruments on ‘Carnivorous Lamb’… more of that masterful craziness continues on ‘Sugar’.
One of the elements to strongly feature on Veleno is the use of piano. One of the most beautiful tracks on the album, ‘Monnalisa’, closes with a brilliant piano piece while the track itself borders on becoming symphonic metal with screaming guitars and eerie whispers. Francesco Ferrini then backs that up with some crazy almost David Helfgott piano playing on ‘Worship And Forget’ a track which is only enhanced by the use of the choir. There is more amazing piano work on ‘Pissing On The Score’ while the closing track ‘Veleno’ is just pure classical piano.
The brilliance of Paoli in his new role is there for all to hear with his manic vocals on ‘Absinthe’, again the instrumentals seem to do their own thing behind his vocals and the result sounds like intergalactic warfare broke out in the studio behind him. Another one of the highlights on the album is ‘The Day We’ll Be Gone’ which sees the album lifted to new heights with some stunning female operatic vocals while ‘Embrace The Oblivion’ shows the diversity of the new sounding Fleshgod Apocalypse as it returns to gruff metal.
Seeing Veleno was put together by Fleshgod while they were in a state of transition you could easily forgive them if the album was below par – the great thing though is it isn’t. This is an amazing, brave new sound for the band and easily elevates them to the status of legends.