Fragile Existence - _Departing the Damned_
(Independent, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (3 out of 10)
The debut album from Toronto's Fragile Existence, _Departing the Damned_, is a perfect example of what death metal doesn't need more of. The cover art is a typical on-shelf album cover that looks like a hundred other album covers. But as you go beyond that, you'll find pedestrian arrangements, naive riffing and standardized drumming all tossed together in a soup of sub-par production. The vocals used had me raising an eyebrow. There's an odd cross between clean singing and high pitched-screaming that just sounds off. Maybe if one guy did the clean singing and another guy did the screams it could have made a stronger impact, but this just falls flat on my ears.

Another bone that I have to pick with Fragile Existence is the mixing of the drums. Now I'm not attacking anyone's artistic ability here, but how you mix your drums can be really crucial as to how powerful your album sounds. There seems to be a huge gap between the volume on the bass drum and the volume on the snare. The blast beats on "A Gradual Decline" and "The Resilience to Fire" are perfect examples of a bass drum that's just too loud, it's overpowering the snare and making the blast beat sound like a mess despite the skill with which it was executed.

_Departing the Damned_ is not an entirely repulsive album though. There is some impressive lead guitar work on "Honour Among Thieves" and "Violence Instilled". In spite of those few sporadic moments of guitar brilliance, this is not an album that I enjoyed listening to. There is definitely some skill here which shows promise regarding the level of musicianship; though I would expect a tough time for Fragile Existence trying to make it in this world with their very typical type of death metal. The part that really needs work in my humble point of view is the production. Whatever skill available on this album was just spoiled by its production, which drastically mitigated the impact it could have made.


(article published 17/6/2012)

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