Hey there tech fiends, it’s that time of the week again. Before we dive into today’s focus, here’s the usual weekly reminder that if you’re looking for even more sick bands, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
No, for once, I don’t have an early stream today for what I am covering, but, I’ll have another early exclusive premiere next week for The Hallowed Catharsis. Today’s focus is still worth looking into and checking out, especially for casual fans or people who may not have heard of Fractal Universe yet. This week has two heavy hitters in the tech-death sphere dropping from Allegaeon and Fractal Universe. I’m a big fan of both bands, but, considering Fractal Universe has yet to break out beyond the hardcore tech-death nerd crowd, it seems like a wiser idea to highlight them again here since their second album, Rhizomes of Insanity drops this Friday, April 19th through Metal Blade. A bit odd I guess because the new Allegaeon is also tech-death and also drops this Friday through Metal Blade.
If you’re new to the band, they’re a French-based group active since 2013 who leans heavily into the prog-death realm of technical death metal, very much akin to Obscura and Gorod at heart sound wise. Some of you may remember our prior coverage here having hosted the exclusive premiere of their 2017 full-length, Engram of Decline. Which came out a mere two years after their 2015 debut EP, Boundaries of Reality, which I covered at NoCleanSinging.com at the time of release.
Cutting to the core of what Rhizomes of Insanity has to offer, those aforementioned twin references to Obscura and Gorod still covers the bulk of what is going on here musically, same as it’s been since their inception. To most, that will be positive, and, beyond that core of their being, they have a consistent knack for sprinkling in hefty grooves and oddball experimentation from clean singing to saxophone spots at all the right times which continues to imbue their music with a personality all its own.
It might seem odd to highlight the run time of Rhizomes of Insanity at 51 minutes as streamlined, but, for this style, even knocking 8 minutes off the 59 minutes in total run time of 2017’s Engram of Decline markedly improves my desire to keep revisiting this from start to finish without feeling that it’s a drag in spots. Few bands in this style return with such a hungry and intense new album so soon after a prior one so for that alone I give Fractal Universe a lot of credit for striving to deliver and remain relevant all at once.
Rhizomes of Insanity, while often feeling a bit too close to the influences clearly worn on their sleeve, shows not only a level of talent few can match but a keen ability to pick and pull from all over to support the base of their sound and elevate it beyond mere homage territory like many of their peers. So, while this isn’t a standout album of the year hit, it’s still far above the level of most of the tech-death crowd current and established are offering. Which, to me, says they are one of the rare groups with nowhere to go but up. Here’s to hoping they take that opportunity and continue to evolve as I have no doubt they have that capacity within their ranks to do so. The full album drops this Friday, but, you can check out the two early embedded singles below now. If you’re enjoying what you hear, Rhizomes of Insanity can be pre-ordered through Metal Blade here and through Bandcamp here. You can follow the group over on the Fractal Universe Facebook Page.