Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Naming your band is critical. You want something creative, unique, memorable but also within the realm of comprehension. Lately there have been several bands who have chosen these dumb, long names that don’t really mean anything. Along with Beyond The Embrace, Descend Into Nothingness, Circle II Circle, Hammers of Misfortune and All That Remains, Fragments of Unbecoming join a growing club of bands with dumb names.
Some say all the good names like ‘Death’ and ‘Destruction’ are taken but I disagree. A band can get creative and make up a word like…I dunno…pick one…Savatage, Avantasia.. anything would be better. Fragments of Unbecoming sounds like the name of one of those New Age CD you find in the bargain bins at drugstores where it is an hours of ‘music that sounds like waves on the beach.
Album number two for FOU they had one indie CD and just signed to Metal Blade for five albums! Somebody up there really likes them. If Metal Blade has enough faith to sign these guys for five CD’s they should have had enough faith to work on the booklet a little more carefully. Negative points are there are no lyrics, virtually no pictures and a long and confusing title. It is listed on the booklet and CD as both Skywards I and Skywards Chapter II. Which is it? Part I or Part II? The debut CD was called Bloodred Tales-Chapter I: The Crimson Season so what happened to Skyward Part I? The long title is confusing. It doesn’t make sense.
What makes even less sense is the band is not credited in the liner notes! Who is who and who plays what? I had to hit the internet to discover these guys are ex-members of various German death metal bands. The graphics are pretty bland as well, the muted colour scheme is dull and unpleasant.
In terms of the musical component I can see why Metal Blade are interested in this act, perhaps for the wrong reasons. FOU fit very nicely into the modern, melodic death metal scene. In Flames and others are big influences for these guys. There are some modern flourishes and production tricks like the sound effects on the cut ‘Lour Pulse’ . the production is very mid-rangy and the vocals are naturally, brutal as all hell. Big drum sound and big production gives this a very sterile modern tone. The tempo is pretty quick but there are certainly interesting parts to mix up the sound, the instrumental opener of course. It is almost as of Metal blade wanted their very own mid-years In Flames. There are musical similarities but not explicitly. FOU have many things going for them. Benefit of the doubt would say the members tired of playing conventional death wanted to do something more introspective, dynamic or whatever.
The songs need work. They walk a fine line of death and modern metal and don’t really accomplish either successfully top my ears. Heavy guitar tone and a variety of tempos don’t help find their own identity. Nothing really jumped out at me. If they are going to flirt with commercialism, make the songs catchy as heck or stick with the death. This ended up disappointing the critic in me who wanted really heavy and the critic who wanted really melodic. An average album.