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The Art Of Coming Apart

Cyclone Empire (2012)
Rating: 7.5/10

Germany’s Fragments Of Unbecoming have been bubbling under for about a decade now. Initially, like many others, I heard the band when Metal Blade released their sophomore effort Skywards, Chapter II: A Sylphe’s Ascension (2004). Since that time the band have released two other metal cornerstones (2006’s Skywards, Chapter III: Sterling Black Icon and 2009’s Skywards, Chapter IV: Everhaunting Past) as well as their latest unchaptered album, The Art Of Coming Apart.

While early albums featured much more black metal influence, Fragments Of Unbecoming have evolved into a beast of melodic death metal. In the spirit of early Soilwork, Dark Tranquility and Gardenian, The Art Of Coming Apart is as ferocious as they come, using the melodious guitars to sink the beast’s claws into your skull on song after song.

Take, for instance, ‘A Silence Dressed In Black’, which starts off with a haunting intro before it unleashes the main song, grinding you down with its melodic leads and pummeling drum and bass work. All the while the vocals scream over top as if trying to convey a message with a collective last breath. ‘Barren And Bleak’ is solid evidence that the band can take it up another notch even with breakneck drumming and the most beautiful chainsaw guitar work I’ve heard in quite awhile. ‘Seasons Of Tranquility’ is similar in vein, yet a bit more dynamic and not quite as fast-paced, focusing instead on an impeccable sense of timing.

While most of this is pretty damn amazing, there are a few moments that just don’t seem to fit. For the most part it’s the instrumentals. ‘Sundown’ is an acoustic piece near mid-album and while it’s technically proficient, it really takes away from the albums aggression. The same goes for the album’s hollow ending in ‘Fathomless (Epilogue)’. While I can appreciate the band trying to make the album more dynamic, they just end up coming off like soar thumbs. ‘Trapping The Unseen’ sounds a bit like a leftover from the band’s early works and has a hard time blending into the album as a whole as well.

Overall, I really dig this album. Take off the instrumentals and my rating would certainly jump a point, but the fact remains that if you are looking for quality melodic death metal in the vein of the legendary 90s Swedish scene then this is your band. The Art Of Coming Apart is the sound of a band really coming into their own and proof positive that if a band can stick around long enough to mature then it’s worth the wait.

Mark Fisher

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