Fleshgod Apocalypse: Even Fear Is Part of A Working Machine

We are working to spread Fleshgod's word all around the planet; it's just a matter of time!

Fleshgod Apocalypse; the name just rolls off the tongue like a heart rendering demon capturing the most intense elements extreme metal have to offer. In just over six years, these Italian masters have created their own renaissance, a rebirth to death metal, a revival and an awakening..Metal As Fuck caught up with Tommaso Riccardi (Vocals, Guitars) of Fleshgod Apocalypse whilst both of us were battling with travelling conflictions to discuss balance, the necessity of fear and the cradle of culture within Italy.

There are so many elements involved in the music of Fleshgod Apocalypse, where do you begin?! “Well, at this point there are certain mechanisms that are a proper part of Fleshgod's music. This means that we think of our music as one thing, and all these elements are contained in our imagination when thinking about a new song. Obviously the main idea of a song can initially come from a particular guitar riff or a main theme, but in general our albums are thought of as a complete opera”.

Four out of the five members of the band have vocal responsibilities, so who writes the lyrics? "It is a joint operation, the lyrics are usually written by Paolo (Rossi - bass guitar, clean vocals) and myself, we work together and after we put down the basis or the concept, we begin working on the first sketch. We work together with Francesco (Paoli - drums, guitar, vocals) to bring everything together with the vocal parts he has in mind”.

The statement ‘blown away' by the last efforts of Fleshgod is a gross understatement; I was genuinely moved by Agony. Absolutely exquisite! How do you intend on further polishing your sound and technique through Labyrinth? “Agony was really important for us, since it signified a big step forward in the evolution of our sound. Anyway, it was a first time for us - first time we had to deal with and arrange so many instruments and the first time we had to face so many issues regarding composition and production. This means that many, many aspects still needed to be improved and properly balanced. With Labyrinth we had the experience and the time to think about our style in a more complete way, and work on every single element, to bring our music to the next level”.

Both myself and many others I speak to have never found an adversary for Dimmu Borgir's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, that album in particular has been for the longest time, unmatchable due to its superior orchestral qualities. As of 2011 we have in fact found that adversary in Agony. Where in the music has been the most focus? "Our music is created by many elements, but still, every one of them works together with the others. Music is like architecture, or engineering; the structure needs to be perfectly balanced, and if one little thing is missing, the building can collapse. We try to work on our music with the same mentality; conscious of the fact that when talking about musical arrangement, even a single drum roll, a single note of a solo, a harmonic progression of the brasses, or even the first syllable of a word or growled vocals, can change everything. Indeed, this is the way all music should be conceived, and I believe that this approach is the key to obtaining good music”.

Agony was layered with numerous textures, new dimensions and some beefy weight - did you ever have a moment in the beginning (whilst merging your love of classical music and extreme metal) think, fuck, is this going to happen; is this going to work? “Even fear is part of a working machine. It's important to doubt and make thousands of trials and never be completely satisfied. Obviously, on the other side, it's important to have a vision, a certain confidence that pushes you towards the right choices. If these two elements work properly you can make your dreams true!”

Francesco Ferrini's addition through Oracles and Mafia, honed Fleshgod Apocalypse's sound throughout the creation of Agony. How has his technique developed throughout the process of Labyrinth? “Ferrini is constantly improving. His skills as a composer and arranger are only comparable to his curiosity and mentality. He's constantly studying and listening. On the other hand, I think what also made this guy grow up has been the constant collaboration with Francesco Paoli, still the main composer of the band, with which now there's a deep connection for the composition and arrangements of our music. With Labyrinth this collaboration became even deeper and more functional, and I think this is one of the keys of our music, of course”.

How has the sound been even further groomed after Agony? (If you say it is superior we may just very well explode….) When can we expect a release date? Well, at this point we're very close to the release, since Labyrinth is going to be out on August the 16th in Europe, August the 19th in the UK and August the 20th in North America and rest of the world. As I was saying a few questions above, Labyrinth is definitely an evolution of Agony, in many aspects. I would just say it's simply more mature, and conscious. Also, we introduce several new aspects of our music, previously unexplored. Some songs like Towards the Sun or Pathfinder really contain some brand new elements of our music, while still sounding Fleshgod as never before”.

 You've said previously that ‘Metal in Italy is growing up', Has it been a difficult journey due to the cultural aspects of Italy and is originating from a lesser metal dominated country an advantage or a challenge for the band in the beginning? "Of course. And still it is... The good thing is that there are some bands now that really are finding their way in the international scene of metal music, but for which regards the mentality in our country, and the consideration of music in general, things didn't change, indeed. I know it sounds crazy, because Italy has been the cradle of culture and art for thousands of years, but in the last decades the lack of mentality brought about a very bad situation on this side. This also happens with the metal scene. We are full of promoters, agencies, venues, managers, trying to find the way to make as much money as possible, investing the smallest amount of energy and money possible. The result is that the scene sucks, and they don't even make money”.

The creation of a Fleshgod album is in fact a very scrupulous and complex process; the research involved is mind blowing and admirable, I must say. Is the process of merging your two passions of classical music and extreme metal in fact physically and mentally draining? "Not only this process, I would better say that Fleshgod Apocalypse itself is something that is physically and mentally draining. The reason is simple; we apply this passion and scrupulous approach to every single aspect, artistic or not, of our job!”

It seems it has been two years worth of touring since the release of Agony, is this about right? "Well, to be precise, we've been playing around two hundred shows between the beginning of summer 2011 and the end of summer 2012. Then, from September 2012 to May 2013, we've been working on Labyrinth, and we did a last promotional tour for Agony in Europe, with Septic Flesh and Carach Angren”.

I am fair disappointed; I arrive in Germany 3 days after your last European show! Would love to catch you guys live one day - Australia in your sights any time soon? “Of course, we are working to spread Fleshgod's word all around the planet; it's just a matter of time! So don't worry!” Fleshgod Apocalypse will also be touring North America alongside: Wintersun, Arsis, and Starkill, during August this year, the suits are pressed and ready? - What are your expectations for the tour? [Laughs hysterically] "Yes they are!! Well, I know it took a little longer than expected to answer the interview, so right now I'm sitting on the couch of the Sound Stage venue in Baltimore, and we're gonna play in a few hours. I expect great things from this tour. The package is killer, the clubs are great, we're gonna play some new material from Labyrinth, and it's one year since our last tour here, so I expect the fans to show up and raise some hell!!!”