Sound — 8
As far as technical death metal goes, you're sure to find the most outrageous and ridiculous bands that have ever graced the metal world. But they're also lacking in what the rest of the death metal genre has: variation. I could say every techdeath band sounds the same, even though that's not true, but I can say that they all have distinct similarities with very few bands having a thoroughly distinguishable sound. So here is Fleshgod Apocalypse, one of my favourite contenders for a 'Silliest Band name ever' competition. Aside from a total clash of clich 'metalness' (Giant angry octopus on an EP called Mafia by Fleshgod Apocalypse... yeh) which affects most techdeath bands, FGA are actually a unique find for 2 very good reasons. One is the fantastic song writing and musicianship and the other is a very strange surprise which struck me totally dumbfounded (of which I will speak of later). Like other techdeath bands, a lot of the guitar work and melodies are of a neo-classical edge and tend to make the music sound very dramatic as well as being brutally punishing. The musicianship is, as mentioned, incredibly tight and well produced as well yet still has that techdeath 'Rain of bass drums' sound to it.
Another thing to note here is that for a techdeath band, they aren't the flashiest band. A monster raving loony group like *cough* Brain Drill like to totally fill out vital riff space with wanky sweeps and blast beat overkill while FGA keep it all to well-timed level, as hard as that may seem to believe or in fact recognise. As well as keeping with the neo-classical approach, there are also some (incredibly surprising) moments where they thrown in some majestic symphonics. What the hell? Since when did they have the right to be awesome?
Lyrics — 8
Of course, some things remain the same:
Of their low blackmail,
In the abusive frame of hush overcoming our words
Of repressed pain and intolerable hate!
Forever and ever,
We're deranged by paying unmerciful rage,
Son of their lust and abominable blame!
From the first track 'Thru Our Scars'. Typical gut, death, massive destruction etc. subject matter.
Now here's the interesting part (that very good reason number 2). Along with some well performed growls of the insane variety, there is the inclusion of some rather massive operatic vocals, not unlike ICS Vortex if he was in total effing overdrive. As well as accompanying the synths smoothly, it's basically one of the best things they could've done on a techdeath release.
Overall Impression — 9
Many bands can match (and in some cases beat) the level of ferocity, technicality and speed that FGA have but few bands (that is bands in general, not just techdeath) have the inclusion of such operatics and such well written songs. It'd probably be worth listening to the EP just for those moments.
As a sheer listening experience, there's not much that includes everything into one package. If you're a bit of a wet blanket, then I'd say listening to Scar Symmetry's 'Holographic Universe' (the song that is) is like listening to a not quite as huge version of this. In fact, listening to that song then listening to a track from this EP sounds like someone's been messing with the speed control in a sound editor. But stupid remarks aside, it's definitely something worth listening to.
Songs to look out for: 'Thru Our Scars', 'Abyssal', 'Conspiracy of Silence', 'Blinded by Fear' (At The Gates cover) and 'Mafia' which is a short piano piece (sounds very Godfatherish).
*with thanks to jetfuel495, he knows why*