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Fragments of Unbecoming - Sterling Black Icon - 2006 - Metal Blade Records

Track Listing
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.



--Etiam 8.5.06

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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CD
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DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Sterling Black IconFragments of Unbecoming
2006
Etiam9/8/2006


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