Fractal Generator - Apotheosynthesis 01If 2015 has been skimping on anything (other than good death metal), it’s spheres. Whereas I researched for months in order to compile a list of 2014’s roundest and most symmetrical album art, we haven’t seen enough roll past this year to play a game of nine-ball with. They’re so infrequent that even semi-spherical album covers, like this one for Apotheosynthesis, the debut of Canadian tech-death outfit Fractal Generator, have started to ping on my radar. And with a name like that, who needs a sphere to know that listeners are in for around forty minutes of sci-fi wank made by people that read the Wikipedia page on the Mandelbrot set once.

Apotheosynthesis takes a while to get going; “Cycle” and “Face of the Apocalypse” are high-velocity death metal in the vein of Nile with some Immolation thrown in, but fail to leave much of an impression. “Abandon Earth” takes a turn for the memorable with repetitive melodic tapping leading the nonstop blast of the drums to create a much more appropriate atmosphere. To keep the album fresh, Fractal Generator throw in beeps, clicks, and whistles every once in a while, which do their job in somewhat breaking up the monotony of the relentless riffing and drums and remind me of my early days at AMG reviewing Slave Zero, who come to think of it, are thematically almost identical to Fractal Generator.

“Paragon” is another standout, but after its relatively interesting opening riff, it does what all of the album’s other songs do after their intro riffs and falls into a more or less continuous parade of old Nile riffs and blast beats. It’s a frustrating formula that robs songs of identity in exchange for speed. The band puts in all of the stops for closing piece “Reflections,” which takes a slower pace and focuses on atmosphere and melody rather than speed. Because it’s much more diverse and interesting than the album’s other eight tracks, “Reflections” ends up as the album’s best song, despite being a falling-action instrumental piece and including – and I’m not joking here – Darth Vader-esque SCUBA breathing.

Fractal Generator - Apotheosynthesis 02Fractal Generator gets their riffs by way of Immolation, their drumming through Nile and their themes and atmosphere from Obscura. It’s at times an unstable mix, with the percussion becoming monotonous white noise under the weight of the guitar and the cosmic sci-fi horseshit constantly being roared at you, but there are moments when the band really pulls it off. That being said, most of my experience with the album consisted of wanting it to be over with alternating degrees of intensity. George Kollias style drumming, while always technically stunning, becomes tiresome quickly and the band rarely takes action towards rhythmically garnishing their songs, focusing on how to most efficiently transform guitar picks into dust.

While Fractal Generator are by no means bad, their insistence on maintaining a single tempo for nearly forty minutes and disinterest in rhythmic variation cripple what could have been a decent debut from an obviously talented group. Apotheosynthesis is bearably silly, competently performed and surprisingly (though only in relation to its less than stellar peers) well-mastered, but it lacks the diversity that would make repeated listens a pleasure rather than a chore. The Magic Eight Ball says “Try Again.”

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Release
Releases Worldwide: October 2nd, 2015

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  • george

    instant click, cause i thought this is “yer metal is olde” for dan Swano’s the moontower
    track ain’t that bad, but yeah this for 40 min… no

  • Oh god. The beeping.

  • Elton Chagas

    Fuck… we already have Origin, Suffocation, Cattle Decaptation, and others. We don’t need this shit.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I tried reading the Mandelbrot set enty on Wikipedia after reading about it here. Made my head spin.

  • You wot m8?

    This sounds massively generic,even in a genre as generic as tech-death. That album cover is gorgeous though.

  • For tech death, I think this is pretty good. I’d go 3.0. There’s a strong black metal vibe on riffing on some tracks that was pretty interesting paired with the drum kit. (seriously, I think they may have ripped one of these songs from an old Mayhem song but I don’t care enough to figure out which) And you can’t complain about the tempo with tech death! That’s the whole shtick, it’s essentially techno. You’re SUPPOSED to let the drum become white noise. Great music for running a marathon, let me tell you. But I do agree, this band seems like they could do a lot more than what they’re doing, the sci-fi stuff feels like after thoughts rather than a part of the music, hell, it’s not evenly dispersed enough to make sense where it shows up. It’s like the band was playing and suddenly someone was like wait wait! We’re in space!

    • holy crap there’s a secret track… what year is this?

    • Kronos

      I’d have to disagree about tempo/rhythmic variation in technical death metal; it’s a really essential part of the genre – check any big name tech-death band right now and there’s a lot of differentiation in apparent tempo, whether due to going into half time, 2:3 polyrhythm, breakdowns, etc., and even if Nile sticks to one tempo for a while, they usually do something cool with the rhythm.

      • Why does it feel weird to debate tech death in the present tense?

        I get that tech death defines itself as attempts at complex experimentation with tempo, rhythm, riffs, etc. But I think a band can, as here, fail utterly to do so and still be recognizably tech death because all the frills aside the style has become 1. rapid drum kit 2. rapid guitar riff 3. growling. I suppose a subsubgenre called “techno death metal” might be in order for bands like this one?

        • Kronos

          I’m more of a lumper, taxonomically.

  • Excentric_1307

    This so far seems like a great year for Black Metal, but death has kinda been lacking. It seems like there are comparatively few releases this year, good or “meh”.