Fractal Gates - Altered State Of Consciousness
Rusty Cage Records
Melodic Death Metal
14 songs (48:28)
Release year: 2009
Fractal Gates, Rusty Cage Records
Reviewed by Goat

French Melodeathers Fractal Gates clearly want to stand out from the crowd, from their spacey name to their spacey artwork. Heck, there are even five interludes on the album, all a sort of interstellar ambience that would give you the entirely wrong impression about Altered States Of Consciousness if you just listened to them. This is an album almost defiantly conforming to Melodeath standards, sounding like Amon Amarth minus the Viking theme and plus a hefty dose of influence from Dark Tranquillity. Having said that, of course, this is a great album if you like that sort of thing, which I unashamedly do. The growls are deep and Doom-Deathy, the riffs are tinged with melancholy and use melody well, the band as a whole are clearly seasoned musicians who can play their instruments well, and this is music that flies above the anthem-based songwriting of the likes of In Flames.

You have to question the band’s motives in going for the whole extra-terrestrial package, though. I was slightly disappointed that the album wasn’t more alien in sound than the promotional blurb promised, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one. Heck, the band’s name had me googling for a while, convinced I had heard of another Fractal Gates which played spacey Prog Rock. Being fair to the band, there are definitely moments where some effort has been made to introduce otherworldliness to the proceedings, such as a rather neat interlude on Inertia and some backing electronics on Immersion. Overall, however, the music can be a little repetitious if you’re used to the Melodeath sound as played here.

It is rather harsh to the band to criticise them so much over something so miniscule to the overall experience, however, so I will say that there were many moments whilst listening to this that I found myself nodding along, the catchy songwriting doing its job without a doubt. Plenty of songs here are little short of excellent – however familiar they may be to you, the likes of Skies Of Orion with its distant melodies and bouncy, almost Katatonian Rock aggressiveness will always be welcome on my playlist, and I suspect that is true of many readers, whether they admit it or not. If you like uplifting Melodeath that doesn’t insult the listener by going for his inner fourteen year old, or indeed just are a Dark Tranquillity fan who has worn his copy of Fiction out, then Fractal Gates are more than worthy of your time.

Killing Songs :
Gates To Nebula, Inertia, Skies Of Orion, Illusional Dementia, Departure
Goat quoted 78 / 100
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