Fractions – Forces EP
Release Date 28/07/2017
Running Time 26:14
Review By Rick Tilley
When I saw Fractions open the show, as part of the Leicester, Bloodstock M2TM Final at the second ‘Uprising’ event in May this year, I felt their performance, as energetic as it was, was somewhat hampered by a messy sound and, as I hadn’t heard any of their material up until that point, it was difficult for me to really engage with them, especially as they describe themselves as Progressive Metalcore, and as you’ll probably know by now, Metalcore is a genre I have difficulty with, primarily because a majority of the screamers/shouters, in these types of bands, all sound the same and I feel like I want to supply them with throat pastilles and a sick bag!
Of course, being the person I am, I still wanted to hear their debut EP when it was released a couple of months later, because I didn’t want that live performance to be how I remembered the band, so I was very pleased when “Forces” arrived on my review pile! Formed from the ashes of two other bands Phat Jerusalem and Method In Madness, Fractions formed in 2011 and after a few of the usual line-up changes have been gigging all around the UK building a fan base and reputation!
“Forces” contains six tracks (if you include the just over one minute guitar piece ‘Interlude’) and comes in at around 26 minutes in total. Before pressing play the first thing you will notice, hopefully, is the superb cover art designed by the, ever in demand, Andy Pilkington at Very Metal Art. Andy has given the packaging a very professional look and, even though I think he has a very distinctive style, manages to make every piece of artwork or video he creates extremely distinctive to each band he works with!
‘Wolf Inside’ kicks the EP off and it starts in a fashion you may not expect, and I’m not talking about the thunder! It’s haunting but beautiful piano work and it lulls you into a false sense of security because when the riff and thunderous double bass drumming hits it takes your breath away and what you get is extremely heavy BUT extremely melodic as well. This is something that hadn’t come across very well at the gig so was an extremely pleasant surprise. I’m not going to tell you I’ve fallen in love with the harsh/screamed vocals, because I haven’t, and it’s never going to happen but the clean singing is excellent, Chris Hare has a superb vocal range and you would swear there are two singers providing the vocals, the band are ridiculously tight, the guitar work, courtesy of Chris Johnson and Lee Geary is beautiful and the more you hear the songs the more they develop and grow. ‘Beyond Infinity’ is an excellent track with a hugely catchy chorus, thanks to great clean vocals and ‘Radiant Wings’ slows things down a bit before erupting into restrained chaos as the song progresses.
After the aforementioned ‘Interlude’ the next track ‘The Owls Are Not What They Seem’ is my favourite here. It starts as if you are underwater and gradually reaching the surface, the music getting clearer and louder before thumping you right round the proverbials. What makes this song so good are the various passages and riffs which bring the progressive nature of Fractions to the fore and stamps on your forehead what this band can really achieve. Again the guitar solos are absolute perfection and Steve Humphrey’s drumming leaves me in awe of his talent. Title track ‘Forces’ is the final song on the EP and whilst it doesn’t reach the quality of ‘Owls’ it’s a tremendously quirky and catchy affair and ends, once again, with the piano refrain, although it has been edited to sound broken and mismatched.
All in all this is a quite fabulous debut, especially as it’s self-produced and self-released and, before long, plenty of people will be talking about Fractions. I may not be a fan of the harsh vocals or this genre in general but it would be very wrong of me to mark down an EP which has really made me sit up and think. If they can carry this quality into their first album then I shall look forward to it tremendously…and that’s something I never thought I would say!!
01. Wolf Inside
02. Beyond Infinity
03. Radiant Wings
05. The Owls Are Not What They Seem
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