The biggest challenge that faces the newer generations of metal bands is proving themselves. It’s one thing to throw down a record, go with a sound, and do your best to capitalize on it. But it’s a whole other beast to prove your band isn’t just another copy. Not another clone of Lamb of God, another of Slayer, another of Killswitch Engage, or (for fuck’s sake) another copy of Pantera. You need to spread out another show the starving metal fans there’s a new talent that must be heard, and it’s bands like Fragarak that are leading that charge!
First off, I was not prepared for this by any means. Second off, I should’ve known that something like this would be found in India the country which I’ve done nothing but fucking sing praises of recently. When the style description that came with this promo said “experimental death metal” I figured I was gonna get some artsy shit from a band that takes themselves way too fucking seriously. Yet, I got Fragarak who take themselves just seriously enough and put enough art into their death metal that it creates a unique experience that I’ve heard before, but on extremely rare occasions. It’s as if the underground death metal masters of Azooma and Necros Christos got together and had a child in the form of Fragarak, and what a mighty spawn! These Indians showed they were worth being kept checked in on with their debut, but it’s their upcoming sophomore effort of “A Spectral Oblivion” that proves this band is larger than life and knows how to take death metal to unprecedented heights. Sure, brutality and heaviness are key things to have a for a death metal album, but what if you want to take that music to grandiose new heights? What if you don’t want to be kept restrained by the “limitations” of death metal and other styles beyond? What happens when untapped potential seizes the opportunity to make something unforgettable? With “A Spectral Oblivion” Fragrak answers these burning questions.
Typically, you would expect songs that stretch well beyond ten minutes long to belong to the realm of doom metal, correct? Well, Fragarak takes the idea and implements it into a good portion of the eleven tracks that make up “A Spectral Oblivion”, and what easily could’ve been a long, drawn out, and exhausting piece turned out to be no less than stunningly epic with a vast number of moving parts each with their own intricacies that make up the greater beast. With each new track, Fragarak opens up a whole new world with all of them circling the same center point of gravity of transcendental death metal that incorporates not only atmosphere but also progressive elements, tasteful melody, clean vocals (yes, clean vocals) that work wondrously, instrumentals with an authentic Indian feel about them, and an overall sense of musicianship that’s all but fucking immaculate. “A Spectral Oblivion” eventually clocks in over an hour of hard-hitting and thoughtful death metal that feels like life-like and so surreal that it doesn’t seem possible that it can be brought together into one ultimate cohesive experience. That’s what “A Spectral Oblivion” is instead of merely an album: an experience. We get loads of high-quality releases from death metal every single year, but Fragarak takes things to a whole new dimension that extremely few bands have ever reached, yet these musicians broke through on their second attempt and it couldn’t be any more fucking glorious. Fragarak does their country proud with this release and given time I can easily see this becoming one of my absolute favorite releases of the entire year.
To say that Fragarak succeeds with this effort would be but the very tip of the exquisite iceberg. I never once thought I’d heard a death metal record so intrinsic and so other-worldly such as “A Spectral Oblivion”, and being wrong has never been sweeter! India has always had untapped potential, but this is fucking next level in every sense. If “A Spectral Oblivion” doesn’t sweep thousands of people off their feet and be left bewildered with what they just experienced, then it’s a fucking straight up crime of heinous proportions!
“A Spectral Oblivion” releases on October 30th via Transcending Obscurity India!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “A Spectral Oblivion” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Fragarak on Facebook here.
FOLLOW Fragarak on Twitter: @fragarakband