Review: The Fragile Art Of Existence
Magazine: Aardschok / Netherlands
Written by: Robbie Woning
Published: November 1999

Before giving in to the big request for a new Death album in mid '97, Chuck Schuldiner had been peddling with his Control Denied project. A band with which he played, for a change, just guitar, and left the vocals solely to Tim Aymar (Psycho Scream).

Although leaked out demo tapes were received very positively by fans throughout the entire world, Chuck couldn't get a deal with his non-grunting band. Eventually, the project ended up in the fridge and Chuck rushed whole heartedly into writing a new Death album, together with his Control Denied colleagues Shannon Hamm (g), Richard Christy (d) and Scott Clendenin (b).

This month, through Nuclear Blast, as awaited a Control Denied album appears. Due to Chucks health problems, the title got, of course unintentionally a total new load. The first that strikes with "The Fragile Art Of Existence" is that the resemblances between Control Denied and Death are really very big. The complexity of the music is in a same lightly way camouflaged by the vocals. The super fast bass drums and typical Schuldiner guitar harmonies in "Expect The Unexpected" could as easy have been on "The Sound Of Perseverance". Also the production (Morrisound) and the involved musicians (The last Death line up with Scott Clendenin replaced by the good old Steve DiGiorgio) are pushing the album unmistakable towards Death.

However, Control Denied sounds, due to the relatively clean vocals of Tim Aymar, more melodic and Schuldiner seems to dare look a step behind the borders of Death Metal with this band. The opener "Consumed" is very 'basic metal' and the choral singing at the beginning of "Breaking The Broken" and the acoustic intermezzo in "When The Link Becomes Missing" might not quickly be found on a Death album. After all, the almost 10 minutes during title song is, with its woolly vocal lines, rousing guitar solo's and very anti-commercial construction a musical adventure by itself.

It takes a while to get to know "The Fragile Art Of Existence" through and through, but it is worth the effort!

Robbie Woning

Rate 9.5


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Translated by YK/CM for EmptyWords-Published on October 23 1999