Hey there tech-fiends, I hope you all enjoyed last week's Virulent Depravity stream. I've got another fantastic early stream for you today from French natives Fractal Universe. Before we begin, here's the usual weekly reminder that all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
Back in 2015, a new act from Nancy, France called Fractal Universe impressed a lot of us in the tech-death world with their debut EP, Boundaries of Reality. I really enjoyed that effort and was hoping the band would take a leap forwards next time, and I think you'll agree with me they certainly have on Engram of Decline. Similar to their prior music, the band is still all about variety and diversity from song to song and moment to moment.
Overall the songs on Engram Of Decline sound like a fair split between Gorod and Obscura soundwise, but the band's songwriting has evolved considerably and the music here is far more complex and ambitious this time around. The proggier side to Fractal Universe on Engram Of Decline takes on an almost Alkaloid feeling at times when some of the chant-like clean sung parts kick in, or when they decide to break things up with restrained yet potent acoustic guitar led clean passages. Likewise, the groove element present on Boundaries of Reality still acts as connective tissue in their music here, and actually has an increased presence this go around. I think it works and makes their songwriting more dynamic, though I suspect it might end up being a turn off to some.
There's also a couple of really sick guest spots by well-known musicians on the album too. The first of which is an insane sax solo by none other than Jørgen Munkeby (Shining) on "Backworldsmen" that is pretty damn out there in an avant-garde gone Meshuggah way but somehow fits and makes me laugh all at once. Then the album's near 10-minute closing opus "Collective Engram" features a ripping guitar solo from The Faceless mastermind Michael Keene, as well as a second guest influx of saxophone playing, this time from Jean-Marc Florimond.
Engram Of Decline is first and foremost, an incredibly technical record, but it's prog-death adventurousness and deliciously groovy nature is what makes it one I'll keep coming back to. This is an undeniably fun album with a lot to take in and enjoy from start to finish. So be sure to jam our early stream below and give it a shot. If you dig what you're hearing, the album drops this Friday, April 14th and can be pre-ordered through the Kolony Records Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow the band over on their Facebook page as well.