] Metal Refference [ January 2004

// Lars vs. Sascha Ehrich

I’m unfamiliar with both your band and you as a person, so please introduce yourself.

Hell-o Lars. First of all, we wish to thank you for the opportunity to do this interview!
To answer your question, I´m Sascha, one of two guitar players in “FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING”. Besides my activity as a guitarist, I´m also responsible for the entire medial work and thus the general band contact. Concerning the band “FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING” itself that is to say its foundation I have to go back to summer 2000. In August 2000, Stefan (also guitarist in “VENERAL DISEASE”) and me (at that time also guitarist in “MORTIFIED”) decided to establish some kind of project dedicated to beloved Swedish Death Metal besides our more US-Death Metal orientated bands. I remember that we just rehearsed some dusty melodic riffs and tested song structures in order to finish any kind of song. At that time Ingo (also drummer in “VENERAL DISEASE”) took part in the fragmented band and we started to practise with upgrowing enthusiasm. After some month we replaced our session bass player with Wolle (at that time bassist in “TOMBTHROAT”) and it became more and more obvious to us to embody a stable band. Consistent, I left my band “MORTIFED” because of upcoming musical differences and concentrated more on the new challenge, some time later denominated “FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING”.

Tell me about the formative years of Fragments Of Unbecoming.

Because of the band is not that long existing, there are only some main points necessary to mention. In general, the line-up has not been changed until nowadays. After rehearsing constantly, we had created enough songs to enter the studio for the first time in spring 2002 to record our debut demonstration silverling entitled “Bloodred Tales | Chapter I - The Crimson Season”, which found its way to Metal Blade who signed us in May 2003 for a number of five albums, exactly one year after the release of our demo. At this time, we had already entered again the local underground studio Stellwerk to record our first full length album called “Skywards – A Sylphes´s Ascension”, which will be released on January 26th  in Europe.

You were featured on a sampler that spawned much interest in the media. Tell me about that ,too.

Honestly, we were featured on two important German Metal Sampler series as an inset for the well-known magazines “Rock Hard” and “Heavy oder Was?”. Especially the Rock Hard Sampler entitled “Unerhört” (unheard) is spread and responsible for featuring the best metal bands both national and international without any deal. Certainly, we were very grateful and proud chosen to be part of it as the produced issue is very high and is received by many metal customers. Thus, we got a high rate of interest from both the press/media and fans which helped us to publish the band.

What on earth makes anybody call their band ’Fragments Of Unbecoming’, and what does the name mean?

At that time we had to decide how the new band should be denominated, we had collected a huge selection of about twenty to thirty names. Obviously, it was a main topic and of great importance for us to have a very unique or independent phrase and yet unheard name in order to prevent to be premature compared with other bands or musical styles we don´t want to be equalized with. To take a closer look to its signification I can admit that we four members are part of some kind of project or way to sophisticate and reinforce our musical development and its compositions beneath. That is to say we are always directed to our aim, which hopefully every single of us is able to achieve.

You’ve described your music as “Swedish-Styled Death Metal”. How relevant is it for a band or the press to describe your music?

In general we wanted to express a short aphorism, merely to give everyone an initial imagination what the music of “FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING” is based on. Although the stylistic sense is in a way presented yet concrete concerning the description, we even prevent to be directed in one special stylistic era, because we mix very different elements of classical Death Metal to achieve our own style. In short, it is relevant for us to be seen as a Death Metal Band with many attributes beside and anyone who has never heard of the band should know how the music looks like with the help of a stylistic categorisation.

What makes the Swedish metal scene so appealing to you?

The original reason why we decided to form FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING certainly was a passion for the older Swedish Death Metal bands around 1994/1995. Honestly, I can admit that my first contact with Death Metal was “EDGE OF SANITY´s” “The Sprectral Sorrows”, an album which can be viewed as genius and unique that it still influences me nowadays, although it is perhaps impossible to hear that within our songs. It obviously seems that especially Stefan and me are very attracted by downtuned guitars, twin-melodies and harsh vocals, magnificant studio sounds like e.g. Sunlight, Fredman, Unisound and, in short, this unique style in Death Metal filled with contraries like aggression and calmness, harmony and disharmony, deathlike melancholy and liveliness fulfilled with unforgettable acoustic interludes. Although we refuse to be always announced as followers of Swedish cult acts, we are certainly influenced and as you wrote appealed here and there by bands like AT THE GATES, UNANIMATED,  DISSECTION, CARCASS, SACRILEGE etc.

What other influences might be found in your music?

Especially our drummer Ingo is only listening to brutal US Death Metal and other blast beat stuff. Thus, it is possible to hear a variable and constantly driving drumming within our compositions which is not that typical for Swedish Death Metal but offers a special additive flair. In addition to that, the others are also listening to diverse musical directions, may be we get influenced a bit by non metal stuff but at this moment I could not exactly tell you where this perhaps could be heard.

Tell me about your label Sylphony Creations.

Sylphony Creation was found in 2002 to make one of my dreams come true. Basically, according to free time and space I will try to support and help with might and main some underground bands . Some projects are already planned for 2004 as for example the vinyl release of the debut album of “STILLE OPROR” (one layer of the splitted up IN THE WOODS) which is an entirely acoustic album. Other releases are nearly confirmed, thus it´s to early worth mentioning.

Where’s the difference between “Bloodred Tales” and the new album?

Basically, the two releases are not that different at all, namely because “Skywards” can be described as a direct continuation from that point “Bloodred Tales” ended in 2002. Concentrating on stylistic elements we changed nearly nothing. A very important aspect for my personal part is the replacement of instrumental e-guitar parts on “Bloodred Tales” with the use of acoustic guitars to enrich or reinforce the natural sound and atmosphere on “Skywards” - it offers a deeper kind of charm. I can proudly admit that we in a way achieved it to sound like bands that released their albums about ten years ago. Some might call this anachronism but in our view nothing is overproduced or sounds like millions of bands nowadays. “Skywards” sounds professional but unique. Musically, we followed the path we yet went on “Bloodred Tales”, although we developed our skill and ability to write impassioned songs. It is of great importance for us, that everybody who listens to “Skywards” recognizes that this can only be a FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING-album. Concerning the songs itself, we can say that they again offer the listener a wide-ranged variation of different stylistic elements: One is more melodic, full of harmony and mid-tempo based, another one right beside is blasting without compromise, rich of aggression and brutality. We tried to create a constant equilibrium within the whole album, that is to say that there is a certain kind of red line, but no one is probably able to get it by hearing the album for one single time. It is important to listen to “Skywards” several times again and again to see differences and connections to dive into melodies and disharmonies. Certainly, there are many catchy riffs and melodies but in any case it is not a hit-album!

What are your current touring plans?

For us, to start or take part on a tour package is not that free from problematic basics, as every single of us is working the whole week, the whole year. Obviously, this case offers not some kind of matter of course, that the band can go on tour that easy as there is perhaps a lack of time. On the contrary, we are very enthusiastic in playing as many gigs or festivals as it is possible in 2004 to promote “Skywards” and to become more in a way popular and have the chance to spread the name. Hopefully, this works out. Some gigs and festivals are already confirmed and for those who are interested – just enter our page.