There are few bands that have made as big a splash in the metal scene today as Fleshgod Apocalypse. With a reputation as both a slamming live band and an innovative music making machine, the five piece technical death metal group are bringing around a new phase in a genre that desperately needs it. Recently we got a chance to discuss touring, recording a new record, and all things Fleshgod with lead vocalist Tom Riccardi.
The band has been taking names since 2007 with their uniquely classical death metal sound. Riccardi didn’t actually join the band until 2008 after the band broke up the first time due to “personal reasons.” The band reformed and released their first full length, Oracles, in 2009 and followed that with their four track Mafia EP and first North American tour the following year. In 2011, the band signed to Nuclear Blast records and released their second full length disc, Agony. This album marked a landmark for the group because it was the first album to incorporate the orchestral elements the band has been known for today. Riccardi stated the reason for their trademark sound is to stem from a wanting to “mix two genres that, in our opinion, could give something to each other. The power and violence of death metal, perfectly matches the dramatism of classical music.” In 2012, the band began writing for their release entitled Labyrinth. The album continues to carry their death metal/classical fusion, and it is set to support the correlating tour with Wintersun in North America.
I think. This music expresses dark feelings, that need to be channeled, and can be transformed into positive ones.
“We’ve always been fans of this music,” states Riccardi. “That’s simply a matter of attitude, I think. This music expresses dark feelings, that need to be channeled, and can be transformed into positive ones. This is the power of Metal music. Plus, I think that classical music was the death metal of the past. Bach, Paganini, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Mahler…they should have sounded pretty heavy at that time! Plus, we grew up with classical music and this mix express our imprinting and our present and I think that both sides of dramatism coming from metal and classical create something more in Fleshgod’s music.” Death metal is known as an extreme metal and isn’t favorable to all listeners. When prompted why the band plays this extreme form of an already intense type of music and to elaborate on why they use classical music within their music Riccardi stated, “Death metal is known for its origins within the U.S. but Fleshgod hails from Italy and though many believe them to be from Rome most of the group actually isn’t. Only Cristiano Trionfera, lead guitarist, is from Rome while the remainder of the band mostly come from a small town called Perugia. The metal scene there, as in most small towns, wasn’t as prevalent as is needed for the band to attain the main stream success they needed and so they began to reach out to larger veins such as Rome, hence their affiliation to the city.”
At first the band joined a label named Willowtip Records and then switched to Nuclear Blast as an international band when presented with the opportunity. The way in which the band became known to Nuclear Blast is a rather interesting story actually. “We were interested since the beginning in working with Nuclear Blast,” explains Riccardi. “When we released Oracles, we drove to their headquarters in Germany and asked to see the General Manager. We gave Oracles to him and simply asked to listen to it. Than we did the same with Mafia. I think that our determination played a role, together with our music, in drawing their attention. The chance to sign a contract came when we toured the US for this first time with Suffocation, and Gerardo Martines, General Manager at NB USA, came to see the show in Hollywood. He liked the band and the show we were proposing and after a few months we signed with NB worldwide.”
The band has released their second album on Nuclear Blast entitled Labyrinth. The LP continues to elaborate on the themes and styles laid out with their first two releases. When asked how they went about making this disc and what inspired them in the making of the album Riccardi said, “I always think that in some way it’s not the composer to decide what to put into the music, but it’s the music itself asking for it. I think this is the mechanism of inspiration in the end!” He even tipped us in on his favorites off of the new album. “I feel really connected to the song Towards The Sun, for it represents a different and new expression of our sound. It’s a very atypical song and I really like it. Another particular song on the album, of course, is Pathfinder. It’s another song containing lots of new elements; a different face of Fleshgod, and this is why I like it.”
As previously stated, Fleshgod have made a name for themselves here in America and all across the globe as being one of the best live bands in the business at the moment. The band is currently scheduled to tour with Wintersun. “We expect great things from this tour,” states Riccardi, “since the package is awesome in my opinion and I know that our fan base is growing fast in North America. Plus, there will be a lot of new things to learn since every time you are on tour it’s like being at school for the simple fact that you are playing more and more shows and also because you have the chance to learn a lot from more experienced musicians that have been in the scene for a while.”
Riccardi also gave a little teaser about what else we may be able to expect from the band with what’s left of the 2013 touring year. “Unfortunately I can’t still say anything official but we have a lot of stuff on which we are working right now…so, stay tuned! I’d really like to tour with Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir, but also with Cannibal Corpse and our friends from Nile.”
To sum it up, it’s been a busy year for Fleshgod Apocalypse. They have released one of the most dynamic, unique and adventurous examples of death metal to date entitled Labyrinth. The group is also set to go on tour with Wintersun, which will pan out to be one of the sickest tours on the road in the fall of 2013. We even got some exciting news on some further touring from the band as well as a bit of a history lesson on the monstrous upbringing of this death metal leviathan. Though there touring schedule is still rolling, there isn’t much more to expect recording wise out of the band. And what of other projects? “No, not now,” states Riccardi. “Francesco Paoli recorded some albums with Hour Of Penance, a great death metal reality from Rome, as a singer, but now we are all concentrating on Fleshgod.” All in all Fleshgod has delivered one brutal year but there is still much more to come, and Riccardi put it best “…so, stay tuned!”
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