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


Control Denied


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.11 | 145 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars So here it is, the final offering from the late Chuck Schuldiner. Soon after disbanding Death on a high with the release of 1998s The Sound of Perseverance, his new project, Control Denied, release their debut album. It would turn out to be their only release, as Schuldiner's struggle with brain stem cancer came to an unfortunate end not long after. There are, however, rumours that their second release was almost completed with Chuck working on it up until his death. Unfortunately, it hasn't yet been released, until then, we have Fragile Art of Existence, and it's a monster of an album.

Moving away from the mic, Schuldiner brings in Tim Aymar for a melodic vocal injection into the new sound. Aymar's fusion of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford provides an interesting listen, and an impressive performance ranging from high screeches and great melodic vibratos. The legendary Steve DiGiorgio returns to the bass (formerly appearing on the Death albums Human and Individual Thought Patterns), along with some other familiar faces. The aim was to maintain the heaviness of Death and to move towards a more melodic style that Schuldiner states wasn't possible with his previous band. The result is an almost Dream Theater style of progressive metal, with essences of the musicality found on Death's final two albums.

The album gets off to a superb start, Consumed is one of Schuldiner's finest compositions; a lengthy opener at over seven minutes that includes all the technical riffage expected, with new vibrant spices. One element present is the guitar soloing, which takes on a more experimental strand than before. The combined axes of Shannon Hamm and Chuck come together brilliantly, just listen to the power of the two solos in the opening number as the tempo plummets and the wails and screeches are let loose. Perhaps now away from the mic, Schuldiner has taken more notice of his guitar tone.

The album moves on to a heavy second number, Breaking the Broken demonstrating the masterful riffage we all know from Death combined with the Halford-esque screeches of Aymar. Mid-song changes are sprinkled all around, such as a sudden acoustic morph during the middle of When the Link Becomes Missing. This dramatic alternation can be hard to pull off, yet as with The Sound of Perseverance, it all comes together expertly.

Lyrically, the album becomes even more interesting. Schuldiner's words possibly reflecting what was happening in his life at the time and his struggle with cancer. 'Once I was free, now I am trapped' is one example during Consumed, and the epic title track has the muttering words 'No time for self pity?no time for dwelling on what should have been'. Even the titles of the tracks: Expect the Unexpected, When the Link Becomes Missing, Cut Down and the name of the album itself, back up this claim.

Control Denied got off to a flying start, and this album doesn't get the gratification it deserves. The future looked very bright indeed for the band and Chuck, however, despite starting to recover from cancer, Chuck Schuldiner died of pneumonia in 2001, R.I.P the grandfather of death metal.

Top Three Tracks:

1) Consumed 2) Breaking the Broken 3) When the Link Becomes Missing

dalekvilla | 5/5 |


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