Review Summary: A bizarre mix of various different styles that makes for an absurd and interesting listen that will have you shaking your head trying to understand it for weeks.
Fractured Fairytales are a band that I stumbled upon by complete accident by finding a music video for a song unreleased from their sophomore studio album Unvale on YouTube. They are also a band that instantly hooked me right in with their catchy rapped screams and industrial backing music, and so I dived headfirst into their back catalogue. They are a band that formed in 2005 and has to date released two studio albums, with a third in the pipeline scheduled for release in late 2013, and are also a band that you never really know what to expect for. They may also be one of the most under-appreciated bands out there for a variety of reasons.
Unvale is, to put it simply, an odd album. This is a release that packs in influence from various dance musicians, industrial artists such as Marilyn Manson and Fear Factory, and even a little more extreme metal influence at times. The track Mime Like shows off the band's ability to pull something fresh from the hat with its clean section around four and a half minutes into the track, whilst the jumps between heavier distorted sections and clean segments will catch some off guard. This is not an album that is very accessible, and clearly appeals to a certain market of Marilyn Manson fans that want something a little more varied and fun than the average Manson album. The main reason this album succeeds would be its incredibly dark atmosphere which is both evil-sounding but at the same time feels full of hurt, and will suck the listener into a kind of trance. Dystopia has an eerie introduction that leads directly into a heavy stop-start piece of guitar work whilst retaining its dance beat before a fast-paced riff comes in that will knock you off your feet.
The vocals here are exceedingly well performed, clearly being a homage to the aforementioned Marilyn Manson at times, although with a lot more conviction and aggression. Self Sustained Demise gives a good idea as to the range of the vocalist's screams-he can do higher and lower screams, with some great mid-range tones as well, and they are all completely audible, whereas the creepy sounding clean vocals really suit the odd, bizarre nature of sound the band is going for. Whilst the rest of the musicians are not the most technically gifted, they certainly get their aim done in creating one of the most out there, unique sounding releases I have ever experienced. Con-Create starts off with some really aggressive riffing whilst the vocalist literally barks over the top, whilst their is a higher pitched synth in the background that merely aids in creating one of the most ridiculous musical textures ever created. This is definitely an absurd, abstract release where nothing particularly makes sense about it, and that is why it succeeds.
Another great thing about this album is how frequently it switches from the ferocious, angry side of their music that sounds like Mushroomhead crossed with Corey Taylor to a sound that wouldn't be out of place in a 90's dance club. This release flows fluidly throughout and nothing feels disjointed, despite the fact the music is constantly evolving. It is also often the case where this album blends both its styles, usually using a piano/synth and a dance beat to accompany a heavy riff with some growled vocals over the top, and it really compliments it. This is an album that everyone should check out, from the awesome bass riff of The Last Day through to the crazy finale this album has.