Fragment. – Fragment

I previously discussed Fragment.‘s big label debut “Is Your truth carved in the sand?”. But truth of the matter is that the s/t release is by far his best release and thus needs reviewing as well. For some background information about this artists I suggest you check previously mentioned review. I will get straight down to business here.

First off, this release is going to be pretty hard to acquire if you sit on this. Only  a 100 copies were made on Consouling records. But this is certainly his most accomplished feat yet so let me state from the beginning that it will be worth every effort tracking this down.  The sound is less polished than “Is Your Truth Carved in the sand?”  and therefore Fragment. comes of as more authentic and genuine. It also sounds more cohesive as it is a collection of 8 tracks all recorded around the same period. The track list is composed in such a way that it provides a perfect listening experience. Though the tracks are all lengthy, I can easily sit through this thing in one session.
Fragment. starts off with “Empire“. This is the original version of “Empire (Version II)” and it is just better. Though sounding “cheaper”, this version has so much more authenticity and emotion in my opinion.  The nostalgic melody played by the high pitched  and overly manipulated guitar is an immediate attention grabber. When the heavy bass and programmed drums join the mix, this becomes a truly epic opener. It is rather repetitive. The vocals could use some improvement but it doesn’t really bother me.
I already picked “Ghost”  as the highlight track on “Is Your…” and it serves the same roll on this cd. The version featured on “Fragment.” is exactly the same but it fits more on this release because it was recorded in the same period with the same producing methods. Again a few misses on the vocal parts but I got over that quickly and now I feel it adds to the authenticity of the release.
Claydust” stays on par with the previous two tracks. It is heavily inspired by the works of  Jesu. It opens rather slowly and unimpressive but once the vocals kick in (who are very good this time) the track slips into a shoegazed trip down memory lane. The guitar play after the chorus is really the highlight of the track.

Mesmerizer” provides a well timed break. It is a lengthy ambient intermezzo. Soundscapes are created solely with processed guitars and some synths but then the bass joins in and creates even more depth. The guitars almost sound like bagpipes and the synth’s are organ like. No drums on this track.
After this break we are ready for the pièce de résistance.
Drained” is such a complete song. It opens ruthlessly with heavy bass, basic drums and ambient features that set the listener into serious headbaging mode. It is perhaps the heaviest track Fragment. has done. The songwriting is excellent. Melody and melancholy start to emerge from behind the concrete foundations and work their way to a very emotional climax. The vocals and lyrics on this track are the best on the release :

Drains you. And Leaves you, with no faith within. Lonely, with no faith within.”

After this build up with epic climax, “Drained” has a tempo shift coupled with the fully emerging guitars and repetitive echoed vocals. The third part  sees the drums disappear to form a more ambient outro (much like “Friends Are Evil” by Jesu).
It just doesn’t stop after this track either.  “Where’s your Kingdom” is yet another amazing piece. It starts off with simple lyrics performed with good vocal melodies and sparse drum beats again slowly working it’s way to a climax when whispered vocals utter :

Where is your kingdom?”

The second part sees the track turn into a heavy beast with double basses in the drums, bringing back memories of Godflesh and the likes. Again though, he manages to squeeze some melancholic synths underneath which just add so much more to the track.
An alternate version of ‘Loose Yourself‘ was also featured on “Is Your Truth…” but again  I prefer this version. Production wise it sounds a bit sloppy (not a good choice of synths) but this version has drums programmed into it and is just less repetitive. The vocal melody is again very bitter sweet.
Perfect closer to the album is the acoustic track “Opaline“. It completes the album on a more upbeat note after a few heavy tracks (both musically and emotionally). It is sure to appeal to many post rock fans.

Fragment. is  just a very complete effort and deserves every mention. It is a candidate for best release of the year so far too.  Any fan of Jesu, Nadja, Isis, Godflesh or even adorers of the more rock inspired shoegaze will adore this. Be aware though that the heavy moments are indeed heavy and the rawer production serves its purpose. It sounds very authentic and you could say there is good balance between heaviness and melody. This leaves me in much anticipation of the collaboration between Fragment. and Methadrone, upcoming in August.


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