FRAGMENT, Fragment (2011, demo)
From the shadow, I guess we’re to imagine this cracked skull fell onto a large canvas featuring a two-color painting of birds and hash marks. That doesn’t make any sense, but the alternative, that a skull enshrouded in some black miasma got stuck on an old TV radial antenna while some birds, eager to slurp up the remains of his exposed grey matter, circle in the background, is even more confounding, so I guess I’m going to run with the painting interpretation. Or maybe run from it. Yeah, that’s a better preposition there.
Fragment sound like a traditional Scandinavian death metal band who, in 1995 suddenly realized that “melodic” is the hot new prefix to “death metal” and started adding twin axe harmonies and a bit of dynamics to their sound. The basic sound is still more or less old school, but the trim is decidedly newer. Of course, Fragment are a new band, and not some act from the mid 90s, which makes the exact alchemy of their sound a bit harder to explain, but in any case, it works pretty well, and serves as a tonic for the various trendy death metal strains of today, most of which are rather annoying. The sound is also refreshingly naturalistic (at least as much as death metal can sound) and there are no obvious markers of studio shortcuts to be heard. All in all, this is a solid demo of well-written, moderately technical (in the way Death was technical) death metal, and I while I think the band might find their particular sound to be a tough sell, if they stick it out I bet they release a killer debut album.
— Friar Johnsen