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Control Denied

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Control Denied The Fragile Art Of Existence album cover
4.11 | 145 ratings | 12 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Consumed (7:25)
2. Breaking The Broken (5:41)
3. Expect The Unexpected (7:17)
4. What if? (4:30)
5. When The Link Becomes Missing (5:16)
6. Believe (6:09)
7. Cut Down (4:50)
8. The Fragile Art Of Existence (9:38)

Total Time: 50:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Aymar / vocals
- Chuck Schuldiner / guitar, composer & co-producer
- Shannon Hamm / guitar
- Steve DiGiorgio / bass
- Richard Christy / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NBA06415 (1999, US)
CD Metal Mind Productions ‎- MASS CD 1124 DG (2008, Poland)

LP Animate Records ‎- AR 026 (2008, Germany)

Digital album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy CONTROL DENIED The Fragile Art Of Existence Music

CONTROL DENIED The Fragile Art Of Existence ratings distribution

(145 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CONTROL DENIED The Fragile Art Of Existence reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Control Denied is the woefully short-lived final project from extreme metal visionary Chuck Schuldiner. He almost single-handedly inventing death metal with his brainchild Death. After the movement got off the ground, output from followers of the band such as Morbid Angel expanded on Chuck's basic formula. Chuck liked what he heard and changed Death's musical direction with 1991's Human, which pioneered both technical death metal and progressive death. From there, the albums became increasingly complex until Death's final album The Sound of Perserverance, a metal classic and his most progressive work to date. He took a break from Death to experiment with a traditional metal vocalist. Thus, he formed Control Denied, a side project intended to show the world that he was a progressive musician. He kept Death guitarist Shannon Hamm and drummer Richard Christy and brought back Death alumnus Steve DiGiorgio. Then he found singer Tim Aymar who possessed the range and power necessary to give Chuck's lyrics a new voice. Chuck's lyrics are his most anguished here, a stark contrast to the fury of Sound of Perserverance.

There is no filler on this disc. The opener Consumed shows that Chuck made a wise decision in vocalists and his own lead guitar is still awe-inspiring. Chuck and Shannon complement each other perfectly; each is terrific at what he does. It's nice that as talented as Chuck was as a guitarist, he still allowed others to play lead. He really cared about the music over his ego. Richard Christy doesn't shine as much a he did on SoP, but he's no slouch on this disc. Steve DiGiorgio always impresses, and this is no exception; just listen to him match Chuck's lead in What If. The title track is a monster, clocking in at over 10 minutes.

This isn't as good as the masterpeice that is Death's final album, but it comes close. It's rather jazzy, and should dispel any doubts about Chuck's prog credentials. Sadly, this amazing side-project, as well as Death itself, would end tragically with Chuck's passing due to cancer in December 2001. I've heard that Chuck's sister will release the second Control Denied album by the end of 2007 despite the protests of Chuck's former label- head. I can't wait for a final offering from one of the top 5 most influential musicians in metal.

Grade: B+

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Wow, this kick every one's ass from the first note to the last. 3 members from Death one ex Death (Steve Di Giorgio) and Tim Aymar (not a big name but for sure knows how to sing even the highest notes). So what we have here a solid prog metal with a tones of very good orchestrations, fast and slow riffs and harmonies of the highest calibre. I'm not praising this album in vain, this is a strong and very well played album. Everything is done a la carte. The guitars sound stunning, again Chuck Sculdiner ( voice and guitar of Death) is the master, and he was easily one of the best guitar virtuoso's and song writers in the field of metal, no doubt Death is the example. But now, the drumer Richard Christy is absolute not of this earth, i can't belive my ears when i've listen to him, what this man do with drums, is hard that is 5 drumers in prog metal genre that tops this man, he is fast, he is slow, some parts is so complex that even a well schooled drumer had some hed aches, really is one of a kind. The vocals maybe is the weakest point of the album, and that's why i'm not giving 5 stars. Not bad, but not exceptional either, a usual vocalist in my opinion, the bass is exceptional, Steve DiGiorgio is a skilled musician and needs no introduction So a big 4, and fans of power metal with a lot of prog will "eat" this album, as i did, recommended one of the best from the '90, musicaly speaking is absolute stunning. 4 stars without hesitation, and tracks that are best are Expect the Unexpected and what if..?, the rest are good toobut this 2 pieces kick ass.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Fragile Art of Existence" is the debut and sole full-length studio album by US power/thrash metal act Control Denied. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in May 1999. Relapse Records re-released "The Fragile Art of Existence" in 2010. The re-release features a bonus CD with unreleased demo material. Thereīs also a 3 Disc deluxe version available.

Death frontman/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner had long wanted to pursue a dream of making a traditional/US power metal album with a clean vocalist as opposed to the technical death metal with growling vocals of his main act. "The Fragile Art of Existence" was as far as I understand his dream come true. "The Fragile Art of Existence" would sadly turn out to be Chuck Schuldinerīs last studio album before his untimely death in 2001, when he succumbed to brain stem cancer.

The music on the album is US power metal played with great technical skill. Itīs not far from sounding like the last couple of Death albums but with a clean vocalist instead of a high pitched growling ditto. There are some other differences too though. The tracks are generally quality compositions but there are few highlights on the 8 track, 50:49 minute long album. Itīs like the vocal melodies simply arenīt that memorable. The strong chorus in "Expect the Unexpected" is an exception. Itīs about the same with the riffs. They are well written but not exceptional. My attention simply wanders at times, which is always a sure sign that something isnīt right.

The technical level of musicianship on the album is high class on all posts. Chuck Schuldiner and his fellow Death collegues, guitarist Shannon Ham and drummer Richard Christy are all very skilled musicians. Especially Richard Christy needs to be mentioned for his phenominal playing. To my ears the man is a drum genious. Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Death, Iced Earth...etc.) plays the bass and as always the man cooks up some nice things for us. Tim Aymar is a skilled vocalist, but lacks a distinct voice and vocal delivery. He has a raw yet melodic style singing style which is pretty typical for US power metal vocalists.

The sound production is in line with the last couple of productions by Death, which means the production is professional and well sounding. The demo recordings on the second disc of the re-release features a lower sound quality but they are still decent. If you ask me Chuck Schuldiner didnīt exactly go out on a high, but at least he got to try out his dream of making a more traditional sounding metal/US power metal album and of course I respect that. With a more unique vocalist and stronger and more memorable vocal melodies "The Fragile Art of Existence" might have been a really great album, but as it is now I think a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is fair.

Review by horsewithteeth11
4 stars Edit: Still a good album, but perhaps I was a bit quick to give it 5 stars. It's lasting value hasn't, well, lasted. 4 seems more appropriate, as I don't put it on that often anymore.

I've been listening to this album a fair amount over the past week or so, and I think it's slowly but finally sunk in. Legendary Chuck Schuldiner had planned to start the Control Denied project as a way to further other musical outlets which couldn't be satisfied in his band Death. The Fragile Art of Existence's release was delayed due to the release of Death's The Sound of Perseverance and wasn't available until 1999. But given the quality of this release, such an issue is easily forgiven.

This music is in the style of later Death (think Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance) but with two distinct differences. There is much more of a power metal influence on TFAoE and Tim Aymar replaces Chuck's screeching vocals. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Aymar has an incredible range and power to his voice. It really opens up many new doors for where the music is able to flow. As others have said, this is a fairly technical album, but it isn't by any means tech metal. It has a very classic heavy metal sound, which should be something fans of such music would enjoy. To really add some icing to the cake, this album has no filler as far as I'm concerned. Ever single track opens itself up and sounds very unique to my ears. Except for the vocalist, everyone else on the album was either a current or ex-Death band member, and each one of course makes the songs sound very Death-like. But the real treat comes from the way Chuck and former Death bassist Steve DiGiorgio really play off of each other on here. If you need proof, listen to the intro for the songs What If...? or Expect the Unexpected. Man, that's some really high-quality stuff right there.

I'm really tempted to give this 5 stars, and the lack of filler and excellent guitar and bass duels really makes it hard not to. Therefore, this is in my eyes a masterpiece of progressive metal. Highly recommended to fans of Death and those who enjoy technical metal that doesn't necessarily need to be flashy.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'The Fragile Art Of Existence' - Control Denied (8/10)

Towards the end of his legendary musical career and life, Chuck Schuldiner sought to shift gears a bit from the death metal he had been doing since his teens. Granted, his brand of death had changed drastically over the years, but there was only so much the man could do with Death. Clean vocals were something that would not have gone over well with Death's fanbase, so Chuck formed a new band to fulfil this dimension of his music. Control Denied only put out one album before Chuck passed away, but it has stood the test of time, and has even been met with love by the extreme metal crowds. Although Control Denied shows Chuck Schuldiner venturing into progressive power metal territory, there is little difference besides this and prog-era Death barring the fact that clean vocals now lead the music. In other words; this was Chuck beyond Death.

From the very first few seconds of 'The Fragile Art Of Existence', it is clear that this is Chuck Schuldiner's work. The music is incredibly similar to what Death was doing with their final three albums, particularly 'The Sound Of Perseverance'. It could be said that Control Denied is more of a band-centric effort however, with a much heavier bass presence than was heard with Death. The style of composition is definitely by Chuck's own hand and in his distinctive style, with plenty of room for technical riffs, dark hooks, and space for his signature guitar solos. Although Chuck is seen as a death metal guitarist, it is interesting to see how much differently the style he plays can sound with only changing the vocal style. Performed here by Tim Aymar, he has an intensely technical voice that isn't afraid to shriek out. Aymar's vocals are much like Rob Halford of Judas Priest; a band that Chuck was very fond of. Aymar evidently has an impressive range, although he generally sticks to the higher end of the spectrum. Many of the vocal passages he pulls off here are as technical as Chuck's guitar work.

Although there are clean vocals here, they are actually used quite similarly to how Chuck used his own voice in Death. They have great range to them, but they tend to go for power over melody. Aymar's delivery is always impressive, but the vocal melodies are less convincing than the epic riffs Chuck and axemate Shannon Hamm are playing. Although Control Denied is fine evidence that Chuck Schuldiner was a man whose musical vision extended beyond the reaches of death metal, the clean vocals do not work as well as Schuldiner's rasp in his music. All the same, Aymar's vocals are impressive, and the instrumentation and songwriting is as impressive as any Death album. It is well-worth checking out for anyone even slightly invested in Chuck's music. Rest in peace!

Review by Warthur
4 stars Chuck Schuldiner is most famous in metal circles for his work with death - and rightly so - but Control Denied's sole completed album was actually his studio swansong. The Control Denied project was an exercise by Chuck in taking the chops and aggression he had honed over his years in Death and using it in a progressive metal framework taking a sort of death-tinged power metal style as the foundation of the group's sound.

It's an intriguing experiment, and broadly speaking it works out well. With a number of Death and ex-Death members onboard, there was a risk that this would have just been a Death album with clean vocals, but the differing musical approach allows the album to stand as a record of a somewhat different side of Chuck's creativity, and we can all be grateful that he and the crew got it on record before we lost him.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#386155) | Posted by Time Signature | Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 bra ... (read more)

Report this review (#254605) | Posted by dalekvilla | Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Chuck Schuldiner, what can one say about this man? He was easily one of the best guitar virtuoso's and song writers in the field of metal, and he was practically the sole innovator of Death metal. His beautiful masterpieces are finally starting to get the recognition they rightfully deserve. C ... (read more)

Report this review (#59276) | Posted by | Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You know, this album has been accused for being a traitor of death metal music..That's because Chuck Schuldiner was the leader in the best death metal band on earth and one of the first who the particular style.When Death broke up, he recorded with the members (Steve DiGiorgio (Bass), Shannon H ... (read more)

Report this review (#44841) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OK what can someone say about chuck? the man was ( and still is in our hearts) the father of technical death metal. albums like spiritual healing/leprosy/human/symbolic have marked death metal as sabbath's albums marked heavy metal. when this album wa sreleased i didn't like it. i had to listen i ... (read more)

Report this review (#36177) | Posted by | Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars OK... this is a sort of postumous record, the last grasp of air of a great musician. Basically, this band is DEATH with vocals, with a very edgy approach, and a very technical side with a lot of heart. So, let's start with the fact that the record is a lost gem, because of the background (death ... (read more)

Report this review (#36076) | Posted by arqwave | Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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