Review Summary: An overlooked masterpiece of technical death metal. Full of soul, taste and awesomeness.
The Quebec scene of technical death metal has proven a force to be reckoned with with the release of the extremely well-received "The Aura" by Beyond Creation. But it turns out that the area hid at least one more utterly amazing outfit in its shadows. Why didn't First Fragment's album "The Afterthought Ecstasy", released one year earlier, make such a big boom, unlike "The Aura"? I wonder, I really do.
Maybe it's because of the length - only six songs with the average song length at 4:30. No lengthy songs on a prog/tech death album with rich neo-classical influences. But that's actually pretty cool - each of the amazing songs can be sampled like a little morsel, and each is written so well that they never outstay their welcome.
So what exactly can one expect on "The Afterthought Ecstasy"? Well, technical death metal for one. The heaviness is more than satisfactory, definitely a notch or two above other artism-oriented bands such as Opeth or Ne Obliviscaris. This is death metal, no fooling. All the wicked blasting and insane shred solos being the cornerstones of the genre are present and well. But this album is something else, something different. It actually has stuff that not even "The Aura" has. Pianos, acoustic passages, and neo classical shred solos. And the band's sense of melody is also different than Beyond Creation's - and in this reviewer's opinion, easier to listen to. There is no particular chord progression or flavor that the band would stick to - they're pretty much all around the place with their melodies. As far as the musicianship goes, it goes without saying that all of it is top-notch. It's tech death after all.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys tech death spiced up with lots of progressive, acoustic and neo-classical influences. The latter, I should mention, are not utilized like in Necrophagist, where a neo-classical solo follows a purely technical verse, but rather intertwined into the very essence of the composition. Everything in this album flows with perfect smoothness, and there is absolutely no time for boredom. If only these guys had a better publicity manager...