Fragments of Death was my first encounter with Graveworm. Even though I shouldn’t have, I was surprised before listening to the album that they were from Italy and I wasn’t really expecting an album that would impress me. Call me a metal bigot but metal isn’t really something that the Italians would proudly add to their plethora of cultural influences for the rest of the world to enjoy [Bigot! There are some great Italian death metal bands, not to mention Rhapsody! – AMG]. Having confessed my prejudice, Italy has already stunned me this year with the new Fleshgod Apocalypse album which definitely improved the scene’s name and now Graveworm release Fragments of Death to add to what their fellow countrymen did a few months earlier.
While doing some online research, I noticed that the “black metal” tag is immensely popular around this band which baffled me a little. The riffing all over Fragments of Death has a very modern death metal vibe to it and the production job makes the guitar work in general sound quite beefy. The drums are entirely un-black metal in the sense that there’s no continuous blasting that fills up a whole track and nothing sounds more trebly than it needs to be and the cymbals are actually individually distinguishable. The bass, as one would generally expect, remains in the background for the most part while doing its regular job quite reliably.
Sorting through these Fragments of Death will gradually leave some impressions on one’s fingers like how the high-pitched vocals on “The World Will Die in Flamesâ€ are reminiscent of those of In Mourning’s Tobias Netzell. Catchy melodies will also leave some marks like those encountered on “Living Nightmare,” “See No Future” and “Where Angels Do Not Fly.” Keyboards make various inspired appearances through the album but again in un-black metal fashion, though this may make me sound like an obsessive fellow when it comes to tags. Labeling aside, Graveworm have added some variety to this album as exemplified on “Anxiety,” which has a sense of urgency to its 6/4 chords and incorporation of female vocals.
Of course when a band is at its eighth album, expectations may have an intoxicating effect on the fans who have invested some emotions in the albums from the days of yore. You never expect a great band from the past to go all Heritage or Illud Divinum Insanus on your ass. However, being the new comer I am to this Italian conglomerate, I shall admit that I enjoyed Fragments of Death without having any prior expectations. But it doesn’t feel like it will stay with me for a long time as it doesn’t really crack the wall with its impact. The production job is quite what you’d expect from a band with this much experience under its belt and the composition is good but not groundbreaking. Fragments of Death will certainly stir a few mosh-pits and that’s good enough for many listeners for a while.