Chuck Schuldiner’s metal legacy is not so easily forgotten.
His numerous Death albums are still considered by many as some
of the best material out there, and, especially on the band’s
later work, it virtually impossible to say that his efforts are
anything less than astounding. Since 1995, however, along with
some of the members of The Sound of Perseverance lineup, and the
addition of Steve DiGiorgio on bass, Chuck had been working on
another project with a somewhat different bend: Control Denied.
Only one album of theirs was released prior to his death, The
Fragile Art of Existence, but its birth in 1999 has also been
hailed by many as an incredibly important contribution to the
furthering of the metal scene. Metal Mind’s rerelease of
this album in 2008 is a continuation of the company’s push
to educate us all in the classics of the genre from before the
time of metalcore and the like.
As you might expect, since The Fragile Art of Existence has three
members of the last Death lineup and was all written by Mr. Schuldiner,
much of the music has a strong resemblance to that on The Sound
of Perseverance. The easiest differences to pick out are Steve’s
(as always) awesome and chaotic use of the fretless bass, and
the less direct, progressive songwriting structure. The vocals
on this album are handled by Pharaoh’s Tim Aymar. They’re
primarily sung and work to transform Control denied into a progressive
metal beast, with a power metal bend. The resulting music is very
much like latter day Death-meets-Spiral Architect with a hint
of Nevermore. The whole album is awe-inspiring if you can handle
the prog sound, as its full of Chuck-signature riffs and virtuoso
musicianship. Though I personally prefer Death’s last few
albums to Control Denied, there’s really no reason to look
the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, as The Fragile Art of
Existence is still very much one of Chuck’s metal masterpieces.
Standout tracks: All