Fragments of Unbecoming
Sterling Black Icon



by Shadows USER (89 Reviews)
March 25th, 2006 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

It seems a rare occurrence when a band makes that devious blend of textures within their music. Going beyond the mere aural aspects – although Fragments is a genuine combination of brutality, melody, and catchy yet innovative songwriting – some are able to go as far as creating moods and channeling emotions within their music. While this certainly does not happen often, it is a moment to be cherished when you lose yourself subconsciously in a daunting guitar melody or begin banging your head mercilessly to a chugging riff. Song after song, minute after minute, Sterling Black Icon not only sounds like the highest quality melodic death written in recent times, it also keeps the listener feeling something new with every riff. Whether it’s vehement rage along guttural growling and blasting drums or a heavenly experience during a melodic interval, you not only hear the music, you feel it.

Fragments of Unbecoming, a five piece melodic death metal outlet from Germany, truly took their talent to the next level with their second and latest album, Sterling Black Icon. Every aspect of their previous album Skywards has been brought back and improved upon. Riffs and textures flow within each other, a dual vocal attack keeps listeners on their toes, and vicious drums blast away meticulously. 2006 may not see a better album than this melodic death performance; it would be unreasonable to expect any more.

Sterling Black Icon seems to possess so many layers it’s impossible to keep track of them all. From the beginning of the serene acoustic entrance to the end of the haunting piano departure, the music latches on and never lets go, yet never once becomes predictable. Tracks such as Sterling Black Icon and A Faint Illumination are reminiscent of the sound of Skywards, beginning as catchy riffests and concluding as epic theaters of melody. Scythe of Scarecrow is a pummeling track of aggression while Live for the Moment, Stay ‘till the End is an enjoyable mixture of elements that sacrifices none of the extreme influences while seemingly an easy listen. To offset the varying array of songs, Dear Floating Water and Breathe in the Black to See are packed full of harmonious death metal madness for well over seven minutes each. Everything one could possibly ask for in metal is here in abundance and will surely never fail to grab attention.

The newest addition to the squad is lead vocalist Sam Anetzberger who teams up with guitarist Stefan Weimar to produce a flurry of vicious screams and menacing growls. If you feel like your life is at stake while listening to Scythe of Scarecrow, you’re not alone. Many a small animal has been sacrificed to prevent mass plaguing of the metal gods. Fears are put to rest amidst the chaos with song introductions [i]Ride for a Fall[i] (a dark flurry of lead guitar) and Onward to the Finger of God (an intensely harmonized tremolo piece).

Not enough can be said about the incredible music sealed within the album’s sleek, enticing packaging. Weave Their Barren Path flows seamlessly from low, dark riffing to beautifully harmonized lead work, and again into a vocal-lead passage. Stand the Tempest concludes the album with an epic conjuration of strength from every instrument, creating a powerful vortex of metal. Honestly, no single track(s) can be labeled the best on Sterling Black Icon. Every song is a masterful creation of dynamic metal with enough variety to create the most extreme smorgasbord ever heard on a record. Brutal, yet melodic; ideas flow logically, yet never feel formulaic. Wickedly metal, yet never without a true experience of emotion. It’s incredible what a group of five Germans can accomplish with aspirations and perseverance.

While words cannot describe the sense of trepidation felt in this album, the only way to truly experience it is to listen to the record in full. Anyone who remotely considers themselves a metal fan, especially fans of melodic death metal, owes it to themselves to obtain a copy of Fragments of Unbecoming’s Sterling Black Icon immediately.

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user ratings (25)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 25th 2006


i'll be honest, i know NOTHING about death metal and it's sub-genres, but what i do know is that this is a good review :thumb:

March 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. This is a great album, I can't stop listening to it! Once again, thanks.

March 25th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I listened to the songs Flynn sent me, and they were good. But nothing more... perhaps it takes a bit of time to grasp.

March 25th 2006


Shadows now we know where your avatar is from

March 25th 2006


So THIS is what your avatar has been, Ben...

Sounds interesting enough.

March 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice Review!

March 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

It may take a while to get into, but it's worth it. This is amazing stuff.

Ad Absurdum
March 26th 2006


I think I need to get this album, it sounds very good.
Excellent review by the way, I'm amazed that you manage to use the word "smorgasbord" :lol:

October 11th 2006


i own Slyphe's Ascension, and although it was good, it never really demanded repeated listens from me. guess i'll have to check this out if it really is an improvement.

December 14th 2007


Album Rating: 2.0

Very boring.This Message Edited On 12.14.07

December 14th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

It's a decent listen but nothing phenomenal. Not necessarily deserving of anything higher than a 3.5, in my opinion.

December 29th 2010


mediocre album, great review

July 8th 2017


Skywards > but this still rips

Digging: Neurosis - Enemy of the Sun

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