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618fbS90cWLFleshgod Apocalypse has been one of the most consistently incredible symphonic death metal artists to come out this past decade.  Interestingly enough, this abundant consistency has left their upcoming album, King, with something to prove.  If King follows in the footsteps of Agony and Labyrinth, then it runs the risk of being too similar, but at the same time, changing too much could be even more detrimental.  Thankfully, the new album mixes it up just enough in their established sound.

Fleshgod Apocalypse combines low growls with fast guitar work and even faster precussions (seriously, the drums are a marvel in themselves).  The draw, apart from the amazing talent at the band’s core, is the inclusion of piano, the occasional opera-like clean vocals and various other orchestral elements.

King alters the formula ever so slightly, by slowing down the tempo.  It still has its fair share of quick and heavy songs, such as The Fool and Mitra, which is still where Fleshgod Apocalypse shines the brightest.  However, with the inclusion of slower songs that focus more on the guitar riffs, like Healing Through War and Cold As Perfection, each song is given more of an identity than previous albums.  While going full-throttle isn’t necessarily bad, songs tend to blur together, so the changes in pacing help the album overall.

With all the praise out of the way, it’s time to move on to the nitpicks.  The screams tend to feel a little stale, which could have easily been corrected if the vocalist screamed a high note every now and then.  That being said, the biggest problem is the album’s flow toward the end.  They’re not bad, but compared to the rest of King, some of the songs are lackluster.  Syphilis isn’t that exciting (not that it ever is), and Gravity falls almost as flat as this joke.

Even with the problems, the good definitely outweighs the bad.  Listening to this album gives a feeling similar to being flung into an epic battle. Fans of heavy music will find an aspect to love, whether it’s the superb composure or brutal musicianship.  King is downright majestic and a solid direction for Fleshgod Apocalypse to follow.

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