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Bringing something new to the table - 88%

MikeyC, May 18th, 2009

Ever since I first heard of Fleshgod Apocalypse, I was basically hooked. As their MySpace page was up, and “In Honour Of Reason” started blaring through my cheap headphones, I knew I was going to like this album. After releasing their debut album Oracles, Fleshgod Apocalypse have squirmed their way to the top with ease, which is in no doubt due to the fact that they’re signed with a healthy label Willowtip Records, and that some of the members are also in Italy’s other brutal band Hour Of Penance.

Speaking of that band, you will find similarities between their latest offering The Vile Conception and this one. Of course, the vocal departments of both albums are bellowed by the same person, but besides that, the brutal riffs, the relentless pounding of the drums, and the overall heavy production sound remarkably alike. I haven’t checked, but I would assume that the production job was handled by the exact same person. If so, it shows. But it’s the smaller disparities that set Oracles apart, and actually, drives it ahead.

Unlike The Vile Conception, there are several songs here that have a good balance of brutal and melodic riffing. Some of these may not be distinguished at first, but repeated listens to some of the songs, in particular “Requiem In SJ Minore,” with it’s slower beginning and conclusion, will reveal the hidden melodies, driven by the backing guitars. The drumming still delivers its brutality with double kicks and speed, but the guitars contradict that with purpose and finesse. “In Honour Of Reason” includes some subtle melody, most notable during the chorus towards the end of the song, with the growled vocals in tandem with cleans behind it. None of these melodies ever delve into melodic death metal territory, but are just poking out enough to create an extra dimension, which The Vile Conception lacked.

The more obvious use of melody would be the classical interludes used. Upon my first listen, I was disappointed that there were not as many as I had initially hoped, but recurring spins have quashed that dissatisfaction, because now I feel that there are just enough. My favourite would have to be the stringed orchestra closing “As Tyrants Fall,” and segueing into the next track. A small problem with some of these interludes is that they don’t seem to blend correctly with the music; some feel like they’re just sitting there, notably the opera at the end of “Infection Of The White Throne.” Hopefully this can be rectified on future releases.

I’ll be honest, though: The first time I heard the album, I was not exactly thrilled by it. I didn’t pick up on all the melodies and the little things that separated this from The Vile Conception. Little things like the, how do you say, “jumpdafuckup” section in “Infection Of The White Throne,” and the brutal breakdown in “Retrieving My Carcass.” Couple these with what’s found everywhere else, and Fleshgod Apocalypse have made a debut album that could be contender for best death metal album of 2009. The trigger-happy production won’t sit well for some, but for the rest, this is a real treat.