Fragments of Unbecoming - Sterling Black Icon - 2006 - Metal Blade Records
1. Carmine Preface (Intro) 2. Sterling Black Icon 3. Weave Their Barren Path 4. Dear Floating Water 5. Breathe in the Black to See 6. Ride for a Fall 7. A Faint Illumination 8. Live for This Moment, Stay 'Til the End 9. Scythe of Scarecrow 10.Onward To The Finger Of God 11.Stand The Tempest 12.Chambre Noire (Departure)
‘Sterling Black Icon’ is the second full length from German quintet Fragments of Unbecoming. As first a part-time quartet, Fragments have since their 2002 demo added a lead vocalist and become each member’s primary focus. These efforts have paid off, in part; ‘Sterling…’ is a modern and professional record, at the least the equal of their successful debut.
Fragments play a fairly familiar style of melodic death that, were it not for the classical interludes, would sound almost as American as European. Their dual vocal approach and guitar (especially the rhythmic) cadences are faintly reminiscent of metalcore—enough to elicit comparison but not enough to disrupt their ‘melodeath’ momentum (i.e. no breakdowns). New vocalist has an effectively thick voice that suits the group quite well, including lower, not quite grindcore gurgles and the higher, standardized growls. Especially effective are their guitar harmonies, which are sometimes one step away from standard; not dissonant but neither the ‘natural’ choice most bands favor.
Additionally, while not exceptional songwriters, Fragments’ efforts are still memorable; each song has a separate identity, and the general flow of the album is not hard to recall after only a few listens.
The question is, though, how sorely does one’s collection need such an album? Numerous acts in the past have played this style and Fragments’ take on the genre is far from original (though the tasteful classical segments, arguably the most engaging part of this album, should be noted).
‘Sterling Black Icon’ is, essentially, good clean fun, and this young group has time enough yet to establish their own niche—they certainly have the talent for it. Perhaps their next effort will start towards filling the shoes of the recently disbanded Centinex, but until then they shall fill the ranks reliably, as second fiddle (or axe, if you will) for the more accomplished acts in the genre.
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