Following up previous album The Art of Sickness was always going to be a hard task for Germany’s Profanity, such was the sheer, mind-frazzling technicality of the thing. After all, we didn’t label it the greatest technical death metal album of 2017 for nuthin’!
Jump to 2020 and you don’t need to worry about Profanity having mellowed and presenting us with a warming collection of folk-inspired acoustic ditties. These fuckers live and breath death metal and Fragments Of Solace is as blisteringly, abrasively aggressive and technically confounding as anything they’ve released before. This is tech death written by madmen, this is tech death for those who want their music to shape-shift 100+ times throughout any one song, this is tech death that mimics expected conventions while never, ever staying true to them.
There’s still a progressive thrash flavour spicing up the deathly mayhem – as Profanity bring the old-school sounds of the Atheist and their ilk roaring into the present – but this record feels more of a challenge to absorb in comparison to The Art of Sickness. However, while undoubtedly more ‘technical’ than simply ‘brutal’, Profanity have upped their own ante with this album and the likes of “Reckless Souls” showcase musicians who are carving their own path; fearless and bold in their choices and 100% committed to the often polarising sounds of extreme metal, circa 2020.
As acknowledged, Profanity are certainly not beholden to standard song structure so don’t go expecting to find anything remotely palatable. Instead, Fragments Of Solace is an unapologetic onslaught of complex time changes, guttural barks and acrobatic lead and rhythm guitar workouts, all backed by a percussive tsunami courtesy of Armin Hassman.
This is no better evidenced than on “Towards The Sun”, which may very well be the quintessential representation of Profanity’s overall sound and it’s certainly the most accessible song (if that’s a term that can accurately be applied here) to be found on Fragments Of Solace. It still threatens to careen off the rails at any given moment but there’s a slightly, and we do mean slightly, more disciplined approach to its structure and it sure as hell kicks ass in the name of technical death metal! In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s the best song Profanity have ever written.
The complexity of these songs can be overwhelming – primarily due to the sheer number of ideas thrown at the wall – but, nonetheless, you’ll be no less impressed by what sticks. These boys shred, noodle (there’s enough fucking noodle here to feed half of China) and growl their asses off, all the while honouring the work of such extreme metal luminaries as Suffocation, Necrophagist and Atheist….and the result is overwhelmingly dizzying. Which is probably the point.
Absolute insanity! 8/10
Profanity’s Fragments Of Solace is due for release on 4th December 2020. Pre-order now via bandcamp.