Fleshgod Apocalypse returns with “Veleno”, their most diverse outing to date. The band has undergone some drastic line-up changes since “King”, their latest album and biggest success to date. But these changes has not affected the sound very much. Now, if I didn’t know that the original singer Francesco Paoli was back on the mic, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed. The band sound as proficient and crushing as ever. But two members have left the band, and I guess it shows in some ways. The more chefs the worse soup, you know? But no, the soup has never been bad. But it has been, on occasion, a bit bland. “Labyrinth” was in parts lackluster, and even on “King” I sometimes have difficulty separating the songs. This has all been remedied on “Veleno”. Diverse is the word best describing the record.

Three years in the making, “Veleno” bears the mark of an attitude change. While the groups previous releases has been very cohesive, “Veleno” nods in many directions. Here and there are elements dating back as far as the debut album “Oracles”. With such a diverse album, you’re bound to get surprises, both pleasant ones and ones not so pleasant. The first single from the album was an excellent pick, “Sugar” has just shy of half a million views on youtube and while not universally loved, it has been very well received. It bears all the hallmarks of a Fleshgod Apocalypse song. The second single “Carnivorous Lamb”, however does not. With just above one hundred thousand views and a more mixed bag of reviews, it departs from the well trodden paths. As much as I loved “Sugar” upon first hearing it, I disliked “Carnivorous Lamb”. It deviated to much. As it is the second song on the album, I became hostile to the rest of the record. What is this? What have you done with my beloved Fleshgod Apocalypse? And at first, I found many, many things in “Veleno” that I didn’t like. An influence here, a riff there. Going about it like that, you can pick this album apart. But you would be doing both yourself and the band a disservice. If you initially don’t care for “Carnivorous Lamb”, just skip forward. Because “Veleno” is just chock full of the good stuff that we love about Fleshgod Apocalypse. Sure, The day we’ll be gone is probably one cut I’ll never be able to fully embrace, but it may very well be someone else’s favorite.

First impressions are hard to shake. But give “Veleno” both time and patience and it will reward you for it. It is a more diverse and complex album than it’s predecessors, and while not immediately excellent, it will grow on you for sure. I enjoy all of the groups records, but it is rarely I revisit one of them. I’ll imagine that things will be different with “Veleno”. There are many things on “Veleno” that deserves praise, but I’ll stick to one small detail. You are off course familiar with the bands custom to put the title track, played on a single piano, last on the record? I’ve enjoyed this, but it has always seemed a bit disconnected from the rest of the record. An afterthought, if you will. But on “Veleno”, it feels absolutely seamless. As the absolutely wonderful “Embrace the Oblivion” winds down and merges into the title track, the hairs on my arms stands up and I’m convinced that Fleshgod Apocalypse has released their best album since “Agony” in 2011.

Artist: Fleshgod Apocalypse
Album: Veleno
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of release: May 24th, 2019
running time: 51:42
Rating: 8/10
stand out track(s): Carnivorous lamb, Pissing on the score, Embrace the oblivion