The Fragile Art of Existence (re-issue)
2008, Metal Mind Records
Control Denied, "The Fragile Art of Existence (re-issue)"
Chuck Schuldiner’s metal legacy is not so easily forgotten. His numerous Death albums are still considered by many as some of the best material out there, and, especially on the band’s later work, it virtually impossible to say that his efforts are anything less than astounding. Since 1995, however, along with some of the members of The Sound of Perseverance lineup, and the addition of Steve DiGiorgio on bass, Chuck had been working on another project with a somewhat different bend: Control Denied. Only one album of theirs was released prior to his death, The Fragile Art of Existence, but its birth in 1999 has also been hailed by many as an incredibly important contribution to the furthering of the metal scene. Metal Mind’s rerelease of this album in 2008 is a continuation of the company’s push to educate us all in the classics of the genre from before the time of metalcore and the like.
As you might expect, since The Fragile Art of Existence has three members of the last Death lineup and was all written by Mr. Schuldiner, much of the music has a strong resemblance to that on The Sound of Perseverance. The easiest differences to pick out are Steve’s (as always) awesome and chaotic use of the fretless bass, and the less direct, progressive songwriting structure. The vocals on this album are handled by Pharaoh’s Tim Aymar. They’re primarily sung and work to transform Control denied into a progressive metal beast, with a power metal bend. The resulting music is very much like latter day Death-meets-Spiral Architect with a hint of Nevermore. The whole album is awe-inspiring if you can handle the prog sound, as its full of Chuck-signature riffs and virtuoso musicianship. Though I personally prefer Death’s last few albums to Control Denied, there’s really no reason to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, as The Fragile Art of Existence is still very much one of Chuck’s metal masterpieces.