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Fleshgod Apocalypse - Veleno

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7.5/10

Well, what did you expect from a band called Fleshgod Apocalypse? Jason Mraz? Their 2019 album is called “Veleno.” Behind the spiked club assault of the vocals, there’s a Melodic Death Metal foundation of dark symphonic beauty, painted and draped by the eerie keys and occasional choral voices. It’s akin to watching a stage play of brutal violence with backdrops and sets designed by Hieronymus Bosch and Boris Vallejo.


The first three songs are crazed berzerkers, coming in and smashing everything in sight. The barbarism continues to erupt beyond this - - and frequently - - but there are also numerous explorations of quieter themes, which bubble up as the album progresses. The lighter touches are actually ever-present, but are usually recessed deeper into the shadows, so the primary listener experience is more pounding and visceral. You can feel your Hit Points draining as it plays; your brutality threshold will definitely be pushed. Beneath the spikes and gore, though, there’s still a definite campy sense of fun. It roars with life and fire, not gloom. It’s possibly more of a commentary on me than the album, but I enjoy it most when it slows down from frantic and becomes more like Dimmu Borgir or Hecate Enthroned; more theatrical. Especially in the “The Praying Mantis' Strategy” and “Monnalisa” duo, along with “Absinthe,” and “Pissing on the Score.” And especially especially in “The Day We’ll Be Gone.” “Embrace the Oblivion,” and the title track, the latter of which is a decadent 70s Horror-theme-reminiscent piano instrumental. My recommendation: explore the album. No matter your initial reaction, keep going and listen through all of its sections and dark caverns. There’s plenty of arcana and dark beauty to unearth on “Veleno.”

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