Fractals is a relatively unknown progressive/technical metal band out of the UK. I had no idea what to expect when I began listening their debut Paradox, and I was wondering if these guys have what it takes to make more of a splash in the scene. Do they?
I’d say they’ve certainly got a shot at it! One of the things I immediately noticed that was interesting is the length of the album. Unlike most progressive albums, this one is only just over half an hour. Usually I find myself reviewing albums twice that length! This means that in order to really leave a mark the band has to be memorable in less time, and Fractals did a good job of being just that.
In spite of the length, the band has managed to cram quite a bit of complexity into one album. The record starts off with a djentastic intro that has some quite eerie effects, and breaks into the hard-hitting “Contortionist” which does a good job of setting the pace for the rest of the album. Like the rest of the album, the track has harsh vocals and often doomy/sludgy-sounding guitars, juxtaposed with some interestingly melodic breakdowns. This is also shown in tracks like “Premonitions: Servitude” and “Boundless”.
The band manages to switch things up a little more towards the end of the album, with some slightly cleaner, more melodic guitar work soothing the ears on “Within” and “Tongues”. Honestly, I felt this was where the album really shined and showed the greatest contrast, like a lotus springing from the mud.
Production-wise the album wasn’t bad but could have been better. Everything sounded appropriately distorted and heavy but it seems the vocals may have been a bit too loud in the mixing.
Overall, Paradox is a pretty solid debut, especially coming from a band that may not have had a lot to work with budget-wise. They’ve done a pretty good job and I’m eager to see where they may take things next, given the chance.