Review: Fragmentum “Masters Of Perplexity”

Review: Fragmentum “Masters Of Perplexity”

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This April Belgian melodic death metal band Fragmentum has released their second full-length album “Masters of Perplexity” after two years of silence, and all by themselves. And this time they’ve decided to focus on even more modern sound and synthetic spirit.

Fragmentum prefers to follow the steps of Finnish mdm scene, with all this extra melodious softness and sympho power brusqueness. And their gist for modern sound and progressive and synthetic elements really defines their music out of melodic death metal realm, so they have a wider domain for experiments and mood shifts. The keyboards play noticeable role in their music, sometimes they sound too artificially polished, but still the traditional metal foundation doesn’t kill off their vivid spirit for classical metal concepts. And their compositional dexterity proves that catchy riffs and memorable melodies really are their strong suit.

The active and typical melodic death metal still follows the lead of “Masters of Perplexity”, and all the traditional structural textures of the songs remain intact. But the vigorous and dynamic nature of this record provides with an anxious and overexcited spirit in an almost infantile, but really genuine way. The ethnic allusions and flirtations with Mayan themes blink here and there in series of bright flashes (“Vision of the Snake” or “Feast of the Flash”), bestowing to this album some folky tunes. The heaviest moments still are peppered with synthetic softness and melodic sentiments, so no death metal brutality this time. And some sort of sophistication is obtained by progressive elements, too modern for classical direction of progressive/art rock scene, rather inclining to a more progressive/djent course (“Origination of Mankind” or “Secrets of the Stones”).

Thanks to the diversity of the ubiquitous keyboards, the lively mood of “Masters of Perplexity” induces the bunch of various emotions and plays with the musical temper. So, the atmospheric elements can easily trigger mysterious feelings (“Feast of the Flesh”), mournful reticence (“Mountain of the Dead”) or military mirth (“Screechings of the Sacrifice”). The singing on this release also serves as reliant mood changer – from pure clean lines to extremely low growls and muted unpleasant extreme musings. And the alteration between acoustic passages, dm riffs, oriental elements and synthetic melodies really confirms their love for dynamic and original creativity and with such intense and positive care.

The tireless spirit of these creative Belgians really was presented amply on this fancy record, bereft of the boredom and drabness. Yes, the excess of synthetic harmonies and mood shifts sometimes makes the music of Fragmentum almost chaotically blind, like there is too much randomness. But actually, everything on “The Masters of Perplexity” is well calculated and reasonable, though their appetite for all artificial and modern can destroy the metal candidness and classical integrity. But musicians of Fragmentum yearn for limitless freedom, asserting that melodic death metal isn’t just a narrow genre full of clichés, but is full of artistic possibilities.

Release date: April 16, 2021

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