Review: The Fragile Art Of Existence
Magazine: Digital Metal / USA
Written by: Jason Hundey
Published: 2002

Sadly, the news that Death’s Chuck Schuldiner, the best extreme metal guitarist in America (I stand behind those words) had been hospitalized and diagnosed with cancer in the brain both shocked and humanized the metal industry. Overshadowing Chuck’s most recent successes including the career-defining album, The Sound of Perseverance, which appears as an eerie specter that copiously reminds us of how our subconscious strangely discerns more than one can even imagine about oneself.

Combining the progressive musical prowess of the last few Death albums with the Tim Aymar’s Dickinson/Halford styled vocals creates a power/progressive metal hybrid the likes of which, the industry has never seen. Powerful, brilliant, and subversively catchy, Control Denied have a unique and lofty vision, the likes of which have not been seen since, well… Schuldiner’s last musical output. Looking to tear down the conventional walls of the tired power metal genre, Control Denied raises the stakes of the music to a fresh level. With Death drummer, guitarist, godlike bassist, Aymar and Schuldiner serving as the mythical line-up, they are poised to conquer the metal world. Florida’s favorite son, shines as usual with his trademark high pitched, emotionally aching solos, (free jazz meets metal guitar God, maybe?) but shouldn’t ignore DiGiorgio’s finest hour behind the bass. Simply put, he is a skilled technician who adds a progressive bite to songs like "What If…" and a galloping throb to "When the Link Becomes Missing." This is mighty, this is loud, this is power metal. However, this isn’t your run of the mill Hammerfall power metal, no there is something far more elaborate here. Whether it is the Nevermore vibe on the title track or the shuttering first 30 seconds of "Consumed," Control Denied are charting new territory. Often the album sounds a bit off balance, and one would have wonder if this is because of the sudden advent of Chuck’s illness, and the possible mastering and refining conflicts that arose.

Buy this album not for the remarkable music and compounded energy it contains, and not because it surpasses The Sound of Perseverance (which it doesn’t), but because it is shows the uncanny ability of life imitating art. Songs such as "Expect the Unexpected," "Believe," and "The Fragile Art of Existence," were penned for reasons only one man knows. Be strong Chuck, our heart goes out to you, this battle will be won.


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Edited for Empty©Words 03-18-05