Album Review: Fleshgod Apocalypse – King

Hail (insert your favorite deity here)! It finally happened! A Fleshgod album that doesn’t sound like a pumping, brick-walled, white-noise, piece of crap. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I can actually sit and listen to a Fleshgod album, really listen to it. It really is a transformative experience with this band.

OK, time for me to geek out on the songs. Man, these arrangements are so dense and I love every second of it. Even with the ridiculous amount of notes and intertwining melody lines being tossed about, they manage to give every song a unique identity. Also, unlike prior albums, you can hear how each of the instruments push and pull with the others. When all of the parts come together it’s a really powerful sonic agreement. Pieces come together and break apart creating melody and dissonance throughout the album in a truly masterful way.

Here’s the thing, even when this album almost completely loses musical coherence, it’s part of the charm and very deliberate. All the members will go off on different melodious tangents in a seemingly scattershot manner, only to come around 30 seconds later with an intertwining of those same lines in a completely unexpected but perfect manner. Thinking of it in a visual sense, it would be like watching multiple people drawing a full color illustration in real time. Each person is free to use whatever color they need at the time and can go in whichever direction they need too, but sometimes they come together and work on the same section so you can see parts of the whole taking shape. To take this analogy further, as with this type of visual art, you can really only see the whole after its done, you can’t see it very clearly during the creation. That is what makes this band awesome and unique. That’s also what can make this band confusing. Listening to them is to be part of the creation of the whole as it happens. You are inside the creation of a musical work as its being made. The artist is creating their work in front of you, but as an observer to this act you have to choose which line to follow and which parts to pay attention to. If you try and pull your perspective back too far, it still doesn’t make sense as the drawing is incomplete during its creation. This is inherently different to most music where you are seeing a completed piece presented to you after it has been finished, thoroughly mulled over, and executed in the way the artist found to best convey their ideas. It really is something that only Fleshgod does right and something you can only really appreciate for the first time on this album due to the clarity.

I keep mentioning the sound of this album and here’s why: all their other albums sound like dog shit. Flat out truth. Sorry, I absolutely love this band, but this is the first decent sounding album they have done since they went full on orchestral.   What always made me sad was that this band needed this from the beginning. With all the complexity inherent in their arrangements, unless all the pieces are clear, you can’t appreciate the work they put in on anything other than a purely visceral level.   On this album you can, and it’s glorious. Sure, there are some compromises to get everything audible (slightly thin guitars, bass is kinda quiet), but they are all necessary and perfectly acceptable changes that allow enough room to get this amount of instrumentation to come through in a mix. It’s quite impressive that with all this sound, all the parts remain 100% intelligible.

I could actually go on a bit and get rather in detail on each piece of this album but it would turn into a 10 page review and I think that could be a bit ridiculous. Suffice it to say that Fleshgod really raised the bar they themselves set with this album. With the expanded sonic palette on display here, including some cleaner vocals and guitars, more dynamic passages, and much more tactful drumming, this album is a must own for fans of the band. If you have never given this band a chance, now is the time. They are so unique and powerful. I hope that everyone can at least give them a listen so that more people can hear this completely impressive, expressive, and insane take on music.

Album Review: Fleshgod Apocalypse – King

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