12th August 2016 – Self-released
01. Illusion Of Control
03. Freedom Of The Conscious Mind
04. The Event
05. Panic feat. Kaan Tasan
07. The Difference Between Drowning And Sinking
If a release’s artwork is meant to tell a story, then the piece that adorns the cover of Fraktions‘ new EP is extra telling. Turbulent waves, upward-turned eyes, and a figure standing on a precipice. The process of bringing this record to bear has been fragmented and a long time coming. For many this may have been too much, but the south Londoners’ patience has now paid off, and Anguish is unleashed on the world like a howl into the wind.
From the outset, there’s a clear vision being wrestled into cooperating. Introductory instrumental “Illusion Of Control” meshes creeping electronics with contrasting piano melody, acting as a build-up to, and blending seamlessly into “Altercation“, the EP’s first song-proper. New elements are continually added through its ascent; twinkling noises, stabbing strings and sturdy chugging guitars all mix and entangle as a bed for the introduction of Joel Pinder’s distinctive clean vocal. The influence of The Contortionist‘s third album Language is clear, and remains so throughout the record, but it’s no crutch; Anguish has its own flavour, distinct from yet paying homage to the Indianapolitan group’s most recent outing.
Case in point: EP centerpiece “Freedom Of The Conscious Mind“, which erupts into life using much of the sonic palette Fraktions have established thus far, with a particularly tasty bass and guitar call/response riff section kicking things off. The group very much a product of the strong UK progressive metal scene, with splashes of Monuments and No Consequence also noticeable amongst the shoe – with vocalist Kaan Tasan of the latter making an apt guest appearance on “Panic“. It’s a particularly astute inclusion, adding an extra, but also quite different edge to the EP. It’s important to include these sonic departures – jerking the listener from their comfort zone – and despite running the risk of overstuffing its twenty two-minute runtime, Fraktions sidestep this pitfall neatly by working in and around that sonic palette they set themselves.
The result is an immediately and strikingly astute piece of intelligent, considered progressive metal. It’s so very apparent that every facet of this record has been crafted lovingly and with purpose – it’s no slapdash affair of notes – and that in itself is admirable. That the songs themselves have come out quite nicely is the icing on the cake.
If Anguish is the difference, not between drowning and sinking but rather drowning and staying afloat, then Fraktions are very much the Rose rather than the Jack in this ‘titanic’ equation; long may they cling to that floating door.