With a sound that doesn't so much find the worlds of symphonic and brutal death metal merging as it does colliding, Italian band Fleshgod Apocalypse are one of those rare groups whose music is actually more intense and physical than their name. Over a clutch of consistent, ever more intricate and dissonant recordings, this Roman outfit has impacted the global metal scene profoundly with its sculpted compositions and unrelenting, noisy attack, heard first on 2009's Oracles. Despite lineup changes, they only succeeded in becoming more ambitious, as evidenced by the concept offering Labyrinth in 2013, based around the mythological "Labyrinth of Knossos."
Based in Rome, the band came together in 2007, making a splash right away with a demo and tours with groups like Napalm Death and Hate Eternal. The band eventually brought their technical wizardry to Willowtip Records, which signed them and released their full-length debut, Oracles, in 2009. With a solidified lineup consisting of singer and guitarist Tommado Riccardi, guitarist Cristiano Trionfera, bassist Paolo Rossi, and drummer Francesco Paoli, the band began to further develop their sound, eventually adding a full-time pianist and string arranger, Francesco Ferrini, to the group in 2010. Their sophomore album, Agony, arrived the following year, bringing the orchestral elements of Fleshgod Apocalypse's sound to the forefront. A third album, Labyrinth, was released in 2013 on Nuclear Blast. The quintet received universal acclaim in the extreme music press for their now-emergent brand of symphonic death metal. After touring Europe and Italy as well as playing major festival dates, they re-entered the studio in late 2015 and issued the album King in early 2016.
The following year, guitarist Cristiano Trionfera and vocalist Tommaso Riccardi both left the band. Guitarist and drummer Francesco Paoli stepped in as lead vocalist for the first time since 2009 during their absences, and the band utilized guests to fill in for Trianfera on tour. In late 2018, Fleshgod Apocalypse entered the studio with long-standing collaborator Marco Mastrobuono. They emerged with Veleno in 2019 (Italian for "venom"). The set was marked by the inclusion of a full orchestral string section and choir, and was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen. Before the album's release in the spring of 2019, Paoli noted that since he had become the band's permanent lead vocalist, the date would be the last Fleshgod Apocalypse record on which he'd play drums; he then handed the reins off to live drummer David Folchitto. ~ Gregory Heaney