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Chosen - "Fragment (Piece III)" (CD/EP)

Chosen - "Fragment (Piece III)" CD/EP cover image

"Fragment (Piece III)" track listing:

01. Sinner
02. Inside Solution
03. Blood Sun Black Sky
04. Into The Depths

Reviewed by on February 21, 2008

"catchy (but not too catchy)...the product of decent musicians"

Chosen is a progressive extreme metal band with a penchant for experimenting. They are also completely off the radar, as they have yet to release a full-fledged album. None of the "Fragments" they have released have been entirely like their predecessor, and looking at individual songs will show you why: with barely audible background vocal harmonies, breakdowns, lead solos, various vocal effects including echoing growls, and a tendency for the songs to drift seamlessly through different genres of metal, from thrash to death, from Machine Head to Slayer to Meshuggah, it’s clear that this is a band that isn’t content with having just one style under it’s belt. However, neither do they sound like they’re still searching for their own sound – they’ve found it, and it’s like so many things, and yet somehow like absolutely nothing that you’ve heard before.

"Sinner" is the most musically epic song on the demo, and effortlessly mixes thrash and metalcore stylings, with so much more atmosphere than typical of either genre. The clean vocals are far from the best I’ve ever heard, but are nicely suited to the music. The heavy vocals are angry and agitated, but are still recognisably human, unlike those of vocalists like Lord Worm. This song becomes very interesting at 2:31 minutes, when a vocal effect is used that would be more at home on a Celldweller album. If this were something that was repeated throughout the song or record, it would have registered as a point of serious negativity. As a once-off, singular occurrence, however, it adds to the music as a little, unexpected attention-grabber that reminded me of how experimental these guys are.

My favourite offering of "Piece III," "Inside Solution" is the most aggressive, metal song of the lot. Starting slowly with a nice introduction from the skins, it soon picks up speed, up to the point of that typical of death metal bands, then features a thumping breakdown at 1:57. The heavy vocals here are some of the best found on this demo, and are very well-suited to the song. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the clean vocals, which absolutely do not suit "Inside Solution" at all. It would have benefited from less clean vocals, and less vocals at all towards the end, where the music becomes quite reminiscent of Meshuggah.

"Blood Sun Black Sky" is the shortest song – just over 2 minutes in length – and is also the most atmospheric point of the demo. Finally I can say that the clean vocals definitely, doubtlessly do have their place in Chosen’s music, as they work eerily well on this short dirge. Even the heavy vocals are eerie here, and lose their feel of aggression for a disturbing sense of inevitability and gloom, which is carried well by the slow, soft, haunting music. While a nice addition, the solo of "Into the Depths" is not particularly noteworthy. If this wasn’t the last song of the demo, I wouldn’t mind that it ends by fading out. As it is, it just feels like a weak end to a good record. That said, though, if it faded out instrumentally, I’d be ok with that, but even the vocals fade out, and it has the same feel as when a person launches themselves into a sentence, forgets what they were trying to say, and mumbles off into silence. This is by no means a bad song. It’s a good song. It’s just not as good as the three preceding it.

Chosen’s music is vast in range, catchy (but not too catchy), and neither simple nor overly technical. You can tell that it is the product of decent musicians who aren’t just trying to show off what they can pull off. The lyricism should not get any catchier with further endeavours, but is exceedingly better than that of some major bands currently in the spotlight. The production is not of the quality you’d expect from that of a major record label, but this works in the bands’ favour, giving the music a gritty, grizzly feel which actually makes them sound more metal than at least half the bands on Roadrunner.

Highs: The blending of many different sounds, added with the experimental eccentricities makes the music repeatedly listenable.

Lows: Unsuited clean vocals in places where heavy vocals or none at all were preferable.

Bottom line: The only reason not to buy this CD is if you're waiting for a full album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)