Control Denied
The Fragile Art of Existence


4.5
superb

Review

by K. McNichols USER (16 Reviews)
June 26th, 2007 | 179 replies | 14,158 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Control Denied was formed in 1996 by the late Death-frontman Chuck Schuldiner. As the ever-progressing Death began to travel in new directions, Chuck decided it was time for a new creative outlet. Only one year earlier, 1995 saw the release of Symbolic. At this point you might be wondering, "why the **** would Chuck form a new band? It doesn't get any better than Death!" Well unfortunately this isn't the part where I tell you The Fragile Art of Existence blows Death's albums out of the water. Yet I can say in all honesty that Control Denied's first and only release is beyond a doubt a stunning meld of death metal, virtuouso instrumentation, and even power metal.

The Lineup:
Chuck Schuldiner - Guitar
Steve Digiorgio - Bass
Shannon Hamm - Guitar
Richard Christy - Drums
Tim Aymar - Vocals


When you listen to an album like 1998's The Sound of Perseverance or even 1991's Human, it is clear that Death were pushing the limits of death metal. It isn't hard to see that Chuck's singing distinctly changed after Individual Thought Patterns. Chuck became dissatisfied with his vocal duties in Death, and wanted to concentrate on playing guitar full-time in Control Denied. Enter Tim Aymar of Psycho Scream. Chuck was looking for a more melodic style of death metal. In his vision of the new band, it would be ideal to employ a cleaner vocal style while still maintaining the path Death had forged years prior. While Aymar's vocal style straddles the line between operatic, power metal, and annoying, I'd be willing to say that his performance on The Fragile Art of Existence is actually outstanding. Reminiscent of Fate's Warning's Ray Alder or even Nevermore's Warrel Dane, Aymar's style fits the music well. While I prefer Chuck by far, Aymar's voice is a guess.

The great thing about Control Denied is that while they may be a bit less heavy than Death, the technicality in the playing and brilliance in the songwriting is more clear here than ever. This isn't some band Chuck made because he got tired of soloing and wanted to cash in on some commercial sound, this is fresh material that hooked me upon first listen. While many people may think of Control Denied as a watered-down Death, I urge you not to dismiss this album as simply a The Sound Of Perseverance remix.

Steve Digiorgio gets the first word on Consumed, the album opener. One excellent quality of The Fragile Art of Existence is the production. All instruments are clear, including the lower bass frequency. As I mentioned before, the playing is top-notch. Chuck and Shannon's leadwork is furious throughout every song, and if I am not mistaken every track contains at least one burst of six-string virtuousity. For those who are unaware, Steve Digiorgio can turn a head or two to say the least. First appearing in the Death fold on the landmark Human, Steve's distinctive fretless five-string style is unmistakable. While I am guilty of being quick to disregard all instruments except guitar on many of my favorite albums, Control Denied's rhythm section got my attention.

Take a look back at 1987. The death metal landmark Scream Bloody Gore had just been released by the fledging band Death. Only one year later, a different incarnation of the band would release another album, entitled Leprosy. Notice the increase in solos following Scream Bloody Gore. Chuck began to progress as a guitarist. Playing alongside the legendary Andy Larocque, (of King Diamond fame) James Murphy, and Paul Masvidal, Chuck's style began to change. The trademark alternate-picked lead style is still present on Control Denied's debut, but much of the solos feature sweep picking progressions, and co-guitarist Shannon Hamm is no slouch. Once again, look back to Scream Bloody Gore and you will find the simple songwriting structure has been replaced here by technical yet attention-grabbing shred-scapes. Solos aside, the riffs are as heavy as ever and this album practically never gets boring. The signature Death harmonies, the crushing bass and drums, it's all safe and sound on this album.

Overall:
Chuck Schuldiner proves yet again that he can release great material while still pushing the boundaries of music. While this isn't Death, Control Denied is a great band in and of itself, and I strongly advise those interested to give this a chance. Don't let the "progressive" thing fool you in the least: this isn't Dream Theater. Control Denied proves you can mix virtuoso playing, clean vocals and tight rhythm, all while staying awake.

Pros:
Chuck Schuldiner
Steve Digiorgio
Great solos
Oustanding rhythm section

Cons:
Vocals (i.e. When The Link Becomes Missing)
Song length is slightly longer than Death releases

(A second album entitled When Man and Machine Collide was partially completed. Chuck worked until his death to finish it but it is uncertain if it will be released.)

Let the metal flow into eternity....
R.I.P. Chuck




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user ratings (204)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
June 27th 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is nothing special.

The Fragile Art of Existence blows Death's albums out of the water.

hahahahahah
people may think of Control Denied a watered-down Death, I urge you not to dismiss this album as simply a The Sound Of Perseverance remix.

that is what this is. the goal was just to record later-era death minus the death metal, hence making it watered down death metal.
First appearing on Death's Human, Steve's distinctive fretless five-string style is unmistakable.

I hope you aren't implying that Human was Steve's first album.

How could you review this without mentioning how absolutely atrocious the vocals are?This Message Edited On 06.27.07

Shadows
Moderator
June 27th 2007



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Control Denied does not do Chuck any justice. It isn't really "technical power metal" like most consider it, really just a further progression of the strange tech/progressive sound that Death was getting at in their later years. This has nothing on anything released under the Death name.

rattlehead42147
June 27th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love it, but i must agree Death will always reign supreme.
wait a sec cocaine, human was steve's first album, and look in the review, i said his vocals are annoying at times like when the link becomes missing they fuckin suck.
and on the part where you said 'hahahah" you quoted me wrong... you obviously didn't read the review what the fuck are you talkin about?This Message Edited On 06.27.07

chimera908
June 27th 2007



713 Comments


Damn I was planning to buy this soon and write the first review for it. From what I've heard this definitly isnt Death but it is very good and I have no problem with the vocals. By the way when did Shadows get back? Its sweet that he is though. By the way nice reivew.This Message Edited On 06.27.07

rattlehead42147
June 27th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, i have no complaints for the most part about the vocals, i like chuck's a lot better but tim isn't as bad as everyone says. thanks, but can I have a vote? :p

Tyler
Emeritus
June 27th 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It wasn't DiGiorgio's first album. Sadus came out in 88.

rattlehead42147
June 27th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

obviously, I meant first Death album although i can see where you misunderstood so i'm going to have to edit that. thanks for the feedbackThis Message Edited On 06.27.07

Tyler
Emeritus
June 27th 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I just wasn't sure of the context you meant it.

lanchege
June 28th 2007



64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I like this album quite a bit, I wish they would have used a different vocalist though.

rattlehead42147
June 28th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i wonder what this would have sounded like with chuck on vocals.

Lunarfall
October 24th 2007



3177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It would've sounded better.

But this is a good album nonetheless.

Tyler
Emeritus
October 25th 2007



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i wonder what this would have sounded like with chuck on vocals.

It would sound like TSOP.

jrowa001
October 25th 2007



8749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i like this album, but it doesn't hold my attention for too long

rattlehead42147
October 26th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i found out a while back that warrel dane almost got to do guest vocals on here but couldn't because of nevermore touring. that would have been awesome.

robonguitar
November 24th 2008



54 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album grew on me, at first I thought it was pretty cool, it is really an album i think Chuck wanted to get off his chest, like an outlet for the non-Death stuff, so comparisons are not really flattering, but as it is on its own it kick major ass to these ears!

I like how somebody who has a real loyal following decided to do something different. To me the only let down was the lyrics and some of the singing, but to hell with that, it kicked ass!

badtaste
March 28th 2009



824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Decent music, not so decent vocals. Some cool moments here and there.

KILL
May 19th 2009



67023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

want this

Digging: Picchio dal Pozzo - Picchio dal Pozzo

KILL
June 26th 2009



67023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this rules!

CrazyFool84
August 31st 2009



1078 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

So fucking good, love this album.

stargazer76
October 11th 2009



218 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just picked this album after after recently listening to a lot of Death.

The vocals are very different to Chucks (and not as good), but it's still a very good album.



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