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Shattered Destiny: Fragments EP

Purely on the strength of the names involved with this debut EP from new Metal outfit Shattered Destiny, it is hard not to approach it with an air of expectation. Produced by Martin Brandstrom (Dark Tranquillity) and Joacim Cans (Hammerfall), mixed by one of the best in the business - Pontus Norgren (Hammerfall) and mastered by Jens Bogren (Amon Amarath/Opeth) you can be assured of one thing. Fragments sounds amazing. That however means nothing if the four songs on this EP suck, which thankfully they don't. But that's not quite the whole story.

Formed by vocalist JJ, when he teamed up with guitarist Roman Guryev (Arida Vortex/Archontes), Shattered Destiny is completed by the mysteriously named Steve S on rhythm guitar, Lena H on bass and a certain Fates Warning and Warlord drummer Mark Zonder, who adds a touch of muscular class to an already heady mix.

Across the four songs that make up this EP, Shattered Destiny treat us to Thrash riffs, a touch of Speed Metal, some Manowar like chest beating, a splash of Progressive Metal and for good measure, some Extreme Metal elements. The results ensure that this EP doesn't sound particularly like anyone else, which is always a good thing. "Welcome" hammers a marching riff into your skull, with pinpoint accuracy, all the while adding unexpected guitar runs that dart in and out of the ever changing beat and pummelling bass work. It's Metal and it's Progressive, but it sure ain't what we've come to know as Progressive Metal.

Slowing things right down into Doom territory "Deceitful Hate" has the guts to break down into an acoustic guitar section that adds keyboards and what sounds like a glockenspiel to counterpoint the ferocity. Something it achieves with surprising style. Before the altogether more upbeat "Oblivion" gallops into view on the back of a jaunty riff and tasteful, if fret shredding solo and Zonder's frenetic, yet skilled drumming. Oddly the results land somewhere between Manowar and The Cardiacs, making for a shocking, if compelling sound, before "Epilogue" heads further down the Prog-Metal road, via some Symphonic stylings.

Musically, Fragments is a seriously strong statement. Yes, it is unusual, but in truth that is its main strength. This is a set of songs that isn't afraid to make a strong individual statement and sound reasonably unique in the process. However and for some it may be a deal breaking however, the vocals are a bit all over the place. Having listened to this EP countless times now, there's no doubt that the approach of JJ and to be fair the backing vocals too (which includes the voices of Norgren and Cans as well Johan Aremyr) is intentional. JJ can sing and he can sing well, but he chooses to aim a lot of his efforts well wide of where you'd expect the vocal melodies to be and even when he is shouting the words he sounds off pitch. On initial listens, I have to be honest and say that I came to the conclusion that this guy was just plain rubbish. However once you become attuned to what JJ and the other singers are doing, there's no denying that the whole off kilter approach adds to the unique, potent mix. I'm not sure that I've grown to like it, but I can at least accept that it works well in the music and undoubtedly draws you in. For some though they will just sound plain wrong.

In places Shattered Destiny have created something that verges on stunning, in others it might all be just a little too clever for its own good. However there's no denying that I've become more and more involved with the music every time I've heard it. What a full-length debut might hold in store, I'm not quite sure, but I have to be honest and say that I really can't wait to find out....


Track Listing
1. Welcome
2. Deceitful Hate
3. Oblivion
4. Epilogue

Added: April 21st 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Shattered Destiny Official WebSite
Hits: 836
Language: english

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