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Abandoned Stars: Fragments

Have you heard the one about a Frenchman, an Italian and two Scots? No? Thankfully the punchline's worth the wait! Having released their debut EP, Opening Act a little over a year ago, Abandoned Stars have decided to make haste and hit hard with their first full length effort, Fragments. The approach is the same, yet different, with Progressive Metal still the order of the day, yet the commercial gloss of before is absent, a more technical side coming to take its place. On those terms, the quartet are more than a match for their chosen style, Scottish brothers Tony Hodge (drums) and Leen (bass) a myriad of time shifts, tempo moves and atmospherical alterations, while Italian guitarist Peppe Schiavone is utterly convincing whether juddering into motion through gigantic riffs, as he does on "The Sleepless Man's Conscious Dream", or setting his fretboard alight, as on "Betrayed By Blood". Things take longer to gel with Frenchman Olivier Hadder; a singer with a wide range and the ability to draw on a whole host of attacks with which to convey his message. However his chosen vocal melodies often take a while to digest, the least expected of paths often the one chosen. That makes things feel initially remote and stand offish. Yet stick with it and one of the, on first encounter, seeming weaknesses on Fractured, soon becomes a strength. Yet for some his clean vocals on "Fallen Apart", for example, may be seen as a stumbling block. Those willing to push on will discover a singer who has an ability to story tell and embody the character of the songs he fronts.

The album is split into three sections, The Sleepless Man, Fallen Apart and The Monster You Created, the mood ebbing and flowing across a selection where the story told is as apparent through the music, as it is the lyrics. In fact if there's one true strength of Abandoned Stars, then it is that they still have the ability to engage even when attacking things from a seriously technical side. Beauty though isn't eschewed, "Fracture" a journey through Floyd like bass lines and French spoken word, while "Too Close To You" is a fragile piano led journey where emotion is laid bare.

Fragments isn't quite the step forward anticipated from the band's debut EP, with the more technical approach taking time to become accustomed to, while, as mentioned, Hadder's vocals will possibly leave some a little cold. However don't dismiss either this band, or this album, for Progressive Metal fans looking for something which ticks all their boxes, whilst not afraid to follow an individual path will find much to their liking here.

Track Listing
1. Abrasion of the Mind
2. The Sleepless Man's Conscious Dream
3. Neverwhere
4. Betrayed by Blood
5. Fracture
6. Fallen Apart
7. Too Close to You
8. Lost
9. Perception of the I
10. Worst of Mankind

Added: March 28th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Abandoned Stars online
Hits: 1819
Language: english

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