Review : First Fragment - Dasein by Metal Archives

Updated: Jun 19

Via Metal Archives : “Dasein is the long-awaited debut of Quebecois technical death metal outfit First Fragment. This album is a storm of dual guitar antics, frantic, lightning fast drumming, and intense bass guitar work that is played with more feeling than Boston could ever hope to understand. The songs never feel too long or too short as each runs their course and flows from one to the next seamlessly. Arising from this is an overwhelming compulsion for repeated listens of the entire album in a single sitting. In fact, “Dasein” does not feel like a mere collection of songs from a band. It is a cohesive release of music that is consistent in its delivery of quality entertainment. Attempting to separate the album into its constituent components would be like trying to break down a baked cake into its individual ingredients.


From “Le Serment de Tsion’s” dizzying hammer on and pull off tapping riff to the final reverberating blasts and distorted spoken words of “Evhron,” First Fragment never once show anything less than masterful competence at music composition and playing technique. The album is chock full of memorable passages and moments. One of many available examples is the dueling solo work on the second half of “Mordetre et denaissance” between guest Christian Muenzner and Phil Tougas. They trade off multiple solos, before coalescing their playing into one final solo and ending on resonating notes as the main riff and rising and falling drumming takes back the direction of the music. Aiding the memorability of these parts are the sprinklings of piano, keyboard, classical guitar, quiet sections, and sound samples that accentuate the music. The third track, “L’entite,” is a great example of this in that the song starts off as a soothing Nuevo flamenco recording before ascending to instrumental technical metal.


The instrumentation on this album is masterclass quality and every note and every beat is struck with genuine meaning and meticulous care. The guitar work features elements common to tech death riffing like string skipping and tapping while also adding a hefty dose of shred, all with a neoclassical twist. For those of you wary of neoclassical elements in metal, you may rest easy because the guitar playing never devolves into useless wankery or mindless shred. The playing is clean and tight and the tone is compressed and bright with glorious tremolo picking and godly legato abound. The drumming is both relentless in its pace and nuanced in its presentation. Handily changing up patterns to match the tone of the music, the drummer has no problem moving from complex blasting to thrash beats, delivering tasty fills the entire time. The punchy quality of the drum EQ helps to simultaneously cut through the mix and also prevent the domination of the higher bass frequencies. This, in turn, allows the exquisite bass guitar work to shine through. The bass has a smooth and throaty tone that is clean and airy on higher notes, and gritty on lower notes. With relative ease, it adds a feeling of roller coaster romance to the music at times and meaningful poignancy at others, easily noticed on “Gula” and “Prelude en sol diese mineur,” respectively. The vocals sometimes sound like a raspy bark and the vocalist trades off between high-mid range screeches and lower grunts throughout each song. The lyrics are delivered with careful attention to cadence and pitch and do not interfere with the instrumentation. The vocalists’ expert level craftsmanship is further demonstrated by well placed, held yells or screeches like on “Le Sermont De Tsion” and “Psychan," smoothing, and often accentuating, transitions between sections, and abruptly changing measures.


This is one hell of a debut LP from a band that experienced a modicum of recognition six years ago after the release of their EP, “The Afterthought Ecstasy.” This has seemingly come from left field and easily deserves to be a contender for the album of the year. Well done, First Fragment. Your world class musicianship and penchant for placing quality over sheer, blunt-force brutality have raised you above the throngs of countless technical death metal bands. This outing has propelled you instantly to your new dwelling amongst the stars with the likes of Spawn of Possession, Necrophagist, and Obscura. In some measures, you have even surpassed your elders and, in more areas, your contemporaries. " 99/100 Originally written by Jakster840 for Metal-Archives.com


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