It’s hardly a new observation, but one of the many effects of the home-production/internet release revolution was to completely change the expectations of what we can reasonably expect from a band at the stage of putting out their first album. There are many reasons to celebrate the death of the system by which labels were the sole gatekeepers of the power to record, but one thing we’ve arguably lost is the filter which used to block many amateur or poorly-conceived outings before they hit the studio.
Which makes it even more satisfying when a début album arrives so well-formed.
Every aspect of Fractal Generator’s aesthetic – from the name to their white lab-coats – tells us that this is that engagingly awkward nerd hybrid Science Fiction Death Metal. There are significant nods to Wormed and The Faceless in their sound, touches of first-album Cynic and even the odd distorted riff that Meshuggah would be happy with, but they’ve already started combining them into their own sound.
Apotheosynthis (Independent) doesn’t sound like the first self-released fumblings of a band who’ve skipped past the old gate-keepers and jumped straight to the album stage. One of the first things to catch your attention here is just how tight the performances are – a blinding blur of taut riffing, thunderous blasts and well-executed keyboard work exhibit a band with total confidence in their chosen style. They know what they’re doing, too, never allowing the more esoteric expanses of their sound to detract from the central task of writing powerful, urgent Death Metal.
Apotheosynthesis isn’t without its flaws, of course. It’s arguably longer than it needs to be, losing some of its momentum in the last ten-to-fifteen minutes, and though the production is crisp and crunchy it sometimes relegates the keyboards and spacey noises to sonic garnish, burying some of the atmospherics that the band are aiming for. For a self-released début, however, it’s an absolute revelation, and leaves behind several of the year’s more established Death Metal releases in its wake. Fractal Generator are not simply a band it’s worth keeping an eye on in the future, but one who deserve your attention right now.