Album Review: First Fragment – “Gloire Éternelle” (Tech Death)

Written by Zax

  • First Fragment – “Gloire Éternelle
  • Technical Death Metal from Canada
  • Released via Unique Leader Records on October 29th, 2021

October 29th was a BIG release day for metal. There were new drops from Archspire, Whitechapel, and much more. Pickings were not slim this week, but let me tell you First Fragment stole the fucking show. It must be something in the water up in Canada cause they’re loaded with the best tech death you could ask for.

https://uniqueleaderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gloire-ternelle

There was a lot of hype leading up to this record, and despite having never listened to them, I was excited too. Within a minute I understood the appeal. This record is a straight up eargasm all the way through, and it’s kind of important that this album is compelling all the way through considering it clocks in at a staggering 71 minutes in length.

Let me tell you though, they make excellent use of their time; their pacing is great, and the songs avoid monotony through interesting structural dynamics. It’s just candy for the ears. The melodies are so rich, but it’s simultaneously incredibly complex. Being able to perfectly balance brutality, technicality, and melody is what makes their sound so special, few bands can achieve that. The solos are spellbinding and the riffs go hard as well.

The real star of the show here, however, is that bass. Holy hell you guys, this is bass heaven. Every single note is deep, groovy, buttery goodness played masterfully on a fretless bass. It’s a gorgeous, intricate, and scarily complex performance. I can’t get enough of it. The vocals are great as well, very intense delivery.

Artwork by Adam Burke

There’s some gorgeous acoustic passages here too. While listening I thought I heard a bit of Spanish influence in those acoustics, and it turns out I was right, apparently the band incorporates elements of southern Spain’s traditional musical style Flamenco. Never thought I’d see the day a tech death record would make me want to dance, but hey, there’s a first time for everything.

This record has blasted itself into at the very very least my top 20 of the year. This is peak tech death for 2021, you do not want to miss out.

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