] Hit The Pit [ 7 out of 10
Over three years since its inception, Fragments of Unbecoming have finally cut their first full-length release. Featuring former members of Mortified and Venereal Disease, FoU concentrates all its energy on recreating speedy Swedish death metal in the vein of Entombed and At the Gates. While the majority of their sound seems directly derived from the early death metal movement of Sweden, this German juggernaut has been well worth the wait as the production on "Skyward" is perfect and the matured musicianship stains through like blood on silk sheets.
If aggressive death metal is what you crave, then these guys are sure to please. They inject all the necessary elements of prog and power to make the machine gun drums and amazing fretwork on guitar propel each song. Weimer chimes in on vocals with unintelligibly echoed growls similar to the typical death metal style of Maurizio Iacono (Kataklysm) spliced with the contemporary barks of Dez Fafara (Devildriver).
Personally, I feel the vocals are the only downside to this disc (then again, I'm not much of a fan of death metal vocals in the first place), but the high points on "Skyward," however, are all due to the classically brilliant guitars. With the melodic flare of Blind Guardian dancing with the progressive precision of In Flames, every track has something to offer. To count all the breakdowns, taking off your shoes might not be good enough with this band. Laser riffs morph into chugging grooves and then quickly take off into inspiring solos. Although the song structures may wear thin by the end of the CD, the versatile guitars keep it thick enough to keep you entertained.
Overall, this debut is hardly groundbreaking, but the skills displayed here could catapult them to the top of the death metal heap. These guys seem very comfortable with their Swedish inspiration and that's never a bad place to start. Their sound puts a fresh spin on early death metal with a heightened sense of melody and brutality. With a little more development of their style, FoU will be making some really innovative death metal in the near future.
Pit Grade: 7 out of 10, any fan of Kataklysm would appreciate this melodic death metal.
Recommended Tracks: Every track blends together, but the guitars are engaging on each one.