An old-school vibe prevails throughout Canadian Death Metallers Fragile Existence’s second album; incendiary leads and all manner of classic Heavy Metal fundamentals – you know, melody, groove, actual songs – ably accompanying the blast-beats and the rudimentary paraphernalia that tends to accompany generic Death Metal.
Perversely, generic is an accurate description of opener “A Malignant Design”, a pretty standard Tech Death Metal excursion into well-charted territory that is accomplished but not particularly awe-inspiring. But don’t panic! On delving deeper this bands true agenda becomes immediately apparent; Death Metal may be the base but all manner of Metal sub genre-cornerstones are touched upon, resulting in a multi-layered and endlessly listenable album.
Heavy on the groove, the six minute “Four Walls Of Emptiness” barely even qualifies as Death Metal, its hammer and anvil grind and semi-sung chorus hinting at Crowbar’s intensely crushing rhythms and Pantera circa “Cemetery Gates“, as opposed to the Tech Death this band could play in their sleep. “The Pathogenic Nightmare” also surprises, its controlled and concise bull-whip bludgeoning morphing into a traditional Heavy Metal riff-a-rama before the deathly grooves of Bolt Thrower come back to the fore.
We suggest you think of Cataclysms And Beginnings as a particularly delicious cheesecake. As previously mentioned, Death Metal is the perfectly satisfactory and reliably solid biscuit base/crust but it’s what’s layered on top that counts. The filling, and the heart of Fragile Existence, is a decidedly rich, deep and satisfying mix of Heavy Metal’s fundamental ingredients; sweeping lead guitars, intricate solos and thick, artery-clogging riffs that always leave you craving more. The only thing left to mention is the copious amounts of surprisingly sweet melody that perfectly finish each track.; a topping that adds an undeniable edge and creates something truly gratifying in the process.
Cheesecake then(!); the first time we have used a dessert as an analogy for Death Metal but one that works especially well when discussing the work of Fragile Existence. Both leave a classic taste in the mouth and Cataclysms And Beginnings is a particularly delicious slice of forward-thinking (and past-worshipping) Death Metal. Yum, more please. 8/10