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Control Denied - The Fragile Art Of Existence CD (album) cover


Control Denied


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.12 | 136 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Time Signature
5 stars Control Denied is often described as progressive power metal, but personally, I do not really recognize a lot of power metal in this album. It is progressive though, and what I do recognize is a lot of Chuck Schuldiner elements, and in a way, although Control Denied and Death are technically two different entities and we have to respect that, "The Fragile Art of Existence" could be seen as a natural stage of evolution in the musical journey that Chuck took Death on since its inception.

The production sounds a bit like Death's three last albums, and there is a close relationship between "Sound of Perseverance" and Control Denied, as "Perseverance" was released after the inception of Control Denied and even contains some material that was originally written for Control Denied. Also virtually all members of Control Denied, except vocalist Tim Aymar, have served with Death at some point.

There are also a lot of typical Chuck Schuldiner trademarks all over the album both in terms of riffage and soloing, and Steve DiGiorgio's insane fretless bass work is recognizable from "Individual Thought Patterns" while both Shannon Hamm and Richard Christie also played on "Sound of Perseverance".

But it also differs from Death in that the tracks are longer, slightly more complex, generally slower and then there are clean vocals rather than Chuck's screechy growls. "The Fragile Art of Existence" is, I think, a very good progressive metal album, and it's unique in the sense that it sounds like Schuldiner music (which is why the connection with Death is so salient) and not like any other type of progressive metal.

All the tracks are extremely good, and there are no fillers whatsoever. And there is good stuff in all tracks. "Breaking the Broken", for instance, contains a massive guitar riff and a bridge with some odd riffs, and then the bass work is outstanding, and there is also a very typical fast Schuldiner riff. "Expect the Unexpected" is another very cool track with some very typical Schuldiner details and a catchy chorus and another sort of quirky riff - again, the bass work is magnificent. "Consumed" and "What If" are both relatively heavy tracks, full of Schuldineresque twists and turns, and "When the Link Becomes Missing" contains a nice mellow acoustic bridge with an insanely shreddy guitar solo. "Believe" is perhaps the most straightforward track on the album as it does not contain a plethora of changes in tempo, but it still rocks, while "Cut Down" contains another interesting bridge, and the title track is a 9 minutes long progressive metal epic with a lot of melody in its riffage.

The reissue from 2010 contains tracks from the Control Denied demos, and there are two tracks ("Breaking the Broken" and "Tune of Evil") that feature Chuck singing in his natural voice, which should appeal to Schuldiner fans. "Tune of Evil" is more of a humorous track with Chuck just playing around. The limited edition 3.disc reissue additionally contains Chuck-fronted demo versions of "Expect the Unexpected", "What If" and "Cut Down".

This album is recommended to fans of progressive metal and fans of Chuck Schuldiner. However, although there are obvious links to Death, do not expect this to be a death metal album (Death fans hoping for another "Symbolic" or "Individual Thought Patterns" might be disappointed).

(review originally posted on

Time Signature | 5/5 |


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