There has been quite a buzz brewing around Indian progressive death metallers Fragarak, certainly since the release of their debut album Crypts Of Dissimulation and now having been seduced by its startling invention and riveting adventure it is easy to see why. Though not flawless it is an extraordinary capture of the imagination, a constantly evolving and revealing journey for thoughts and emotions which casts a web of enterprise to seduce, bewilder, and thrill. There are moments where the New Delhi quintet arguably over do the intensive alignment of styles and ideation, times where tracks are never given the space to fully convince before being consumed by the next twist of endeavour but to be equally fair it only adds to the drama and captivation. For a debut Crypts Of Dissimulation is exceptional and the horizons for the band painfully exciting, for them and us.
Taking inspiration for their name from a legendary sword from the Celtic mythology, Fragarak was formed in early 2011 by close friends Kartikeya Sinha (bass), Ruben Franklin (guitar), and Sagar Siddhanti (drums). With the writing of songs soon underway the band line-up was swiftly completed with the addition of Supratim Sen (vocals) and Arpit Pradhan (guitar). Debut single Insurgence in 2012 ignited an eager following in the band’s homeland as well as a full anticipation for their debut full-length release. Consisting of six epic encounters, journeys of progressive and death metal weaves taken into a unique premise by the band, the Crypts of Dissimulation took the Indian metal scene by storm leading to the signing with underground label Transcending Obscurity, many tours, and appearances at festivals such as the 4th Entombed Metal Festival in Mumbai and Bangalore’s 2nd holding of the Evilution festival as well as extreme metal fest Pandemonium. Soon their presence and sound was permeating further afield specially within the US, whilst live the band continued to build an acclaimed reputation. Crypts of Dissimulation is working its way around the globe seemingly seducing all before and it is no surprise that the band is being welcomed with eager arms all over such the potential and already immense ability in their songwriting and performance.
The album opens with Savour The Defiance which immediately charms ears and thoughts with an elegant melodic caress of guitar within an encroaching brooding atmosphere. Keys also bring their grace to the portentous air wrapping the stringed coaxing, shadows and drama edging ever nearer within a growing energy which is as compelling as it is menacing. The guitar take a pause as the air intensifies before returning aligned to crisp rhythms, addictive grooves, and a ferocious vocal squall. Soon taking full and eager strides, the track unveils and explores its emotive scenery, the craft of Pradhan and Franklin bewitching within the reserved but strong tempest brewing up alongside the outstanding tonal throat of bass from the skilled plucking of Sinha. The song continues to croon and roar across its expansive landscape, emotions blazing or seducing throughout to match the imagination canvas of sound and ideation. As unpredictable and intriguing as it is skilfully woven and voraciously presented, the track is a glorious entry into album and band, a gateway like the album as a whole which needs a tide of listens to fully discover all of its corners, rewards, and at times over stretched instincts, but glorious all the same.
The following Insurgence savages the ears from its first breath, rampaging with the glee and predatory instincts of a stag in heat. Sinews subsequently thrust their keen persuasion across the rhythmic enticement and intensive riffery which cores the masterful incitement whilst grooves spear and entwine the imagination like acidic vines. The song is riveting, every moment a flood of addiction forging invention and anthemic persistence which leaves greed the potent reaction, a hunger only accentuated by the fluid drift into a melodic respite which is as virulently contagious as the bestial rapaciousness fuelling the rest of the encounter. It is a triumph which puts its predecessor in its place, the vocal fire and intensity alone a mouthwatering provocation which reveals as much about the heart of the song as the finely sculpted sounds and rabidity courting them.
Effacing The Esotery continues the formidable and towering lure of the album, if without quite matching the heights of the previous pair. Its sonic adventure and rhythmic tsunami cages emotions right away, the trap irresistible as short grooves and melodic toxins engulf their prey. Again it is the seamless move into peaceful beauty which makes the most imposing and absorbing temptation, even within the ever poised violent voracity of energy and thought at the core of the song. The track makes a slave of attention and emotions, the brilliant bass exploits and rhythmic badgering exceptional triggers to a full submission in a torrent of nothing but insatiable persuasiveness, a trait employed by the wonderful instrumental Dissimulation: An Overture. Acoustically bred and emotional endowed, the piece floats through ears and across thoughts; the innocence of its ambience and air charming but shadowed by a dark heart beat and a desperate expulsion of breath. The track brings a respite for the imagination whilst simultaneously awakening new ventures to explore.
The album is completed by the brilliant Cryptic Convulsion and the equally transfixing Psalm Of Deliverance. The first of the two is an avalanche of torrential drumming, spiteful grooves, and unrelenting riffing, all under the commanding growl and venom of Sen. The track moves like a whirling dervish at times in energy and ideas as it works feverishly with its invention and the hunger of its recipient’s psyche. Once more the sonic painting cast by the song and band is scintillating and too much for senses and thoughts to absorb in just a few encounters. This ensures that the album becomes a continually giving adventure which it is hard to really raise an issue over. Its successor is another beauteous piece of music washed in a celestial ambience and precisely cultured emotive hues, a closing entrancement which helps leave Fragarak a lasting experience and Crypts Of Dissimulation live up to its reputation.
Crypts of Dissimulation is available now @ http://fragarak.bandcamp.com/
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