Italian death metal masters Fleshgod Apocalypse have announced Francesco Paoli’s return to lead vocals. The longtime drummer has returned to his original spot in the band after vocalist and guitarist Tommaso Riccardi’s departure for “personal reasons.”

Longtime Fleshgod fans remember Paoli’s monstrous gutturals from the band’s 2009 debut album, Oracles. The following year, Paoli moved to behind the drums for Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Mafia EP, though he still provided backing vocals for the group. Riccardi carried Fleshgod through their next three albums — 2011’s Agony, 2013’s Labyrinth and 2016’s King.

Fleshgod Apocalypse addressed the lineup change along with the announcement of two new members in a statement released earlier today (Oct. 10):

Hello friends,

There's no easy way to say this, so we'll go straight to the point: About a couple of months ago, our singer Tommaso left the band for personal reasons. Our separation wasn't painless, but everybody thought this was the best solution. Therefore we sat down and tried to figure out all possible scenarios for a band that suddenly loses its frontman. The will to go on and continue this journey was stronger than everything else. Since the message of Fleshgod Apocalypse goes beyond music itself, we couldn't let someone who wasn't there since the beginning be its spokesman. So the only way to go on was to take a look back at our roots: We decided that Francesco Paoli, our drummer, songwriter, founder and first frontman of the band, was the natural choice for this delicate and also challenging position. Our mastermind has finally taken back his original role as lead vocalist and guitarist. From now on, besides our precious soprano singer Veronica Bordacchini, we'll have the honour to share the stage with the Italian metal legend David Folchitto (Stormlord, Prophilax) on drums together with the phenomenal Fabio Bartoletti (Deceptionist) on lead guitar. Fleshgod Apocalypse are more focused and determined than ever. Expect new epic live experiences and, most likely, the darkest and heaviest Fleshgod Apocalypse album that we've ever written. We can't wait to start this new, exciting chapter of our career. Our friends in South America will be the first ones to witness the new course of the band, with Francesco as our frontman.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Fans in South America and Mexico will get to see the fresh Fleshgod lineup during the band’s run of dates with Septicflesh during October and November. Metalheads in Japan will also see Fleshgod Apocalypse in November for a handful of shows.

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