- There is no doubt that this album is a remarkable achievement, a colossal milestone in
the heavy metal genre. Chuck Shuldiner has always been about heavy metal. He embodies the
true meaning of metal and puts it out through real, live pulsating music that is bursting
with raw energy. However, with each new album he goes a step forward in creating an
entirely independent musical statement that has little to do with past releases and only
looks into the future while still proudly carrying the flag.
- The Fragile Art of Existence may very well be the greatest
heavy metal album of the nineties. Surely it won't have such mass appeal as, let's say, METALLICA'S
Black Album or any other major big-selling, charts-topping
release in the last decade. But, it has everything all those albums have a serious lack
of: true dedication to one's own vision and belief. Heavy metal is very much alive and
CONTROL DENIED is a living proof. Do yourself a huge favour and buy this album.
Without it you will miss the history in the making...
- Within the first few seconds of the opening song Consumed, it is clear this is
one hell of a ride, more than you have bargained for. The band is in top-notch shape and
Steve DiGiorgio is back with a vengeance. I was so glad to hear this great bass player
back in action, in the band where he always shone with his brightest light! Welcome home,
Steve! The beats that are emerging from underneath the hands of Richard Christy, the drum
wizard, are a collection of jazzed-up double rides, frenetic double-bass, nasty snare
work, perfectly timed and of high appeal to the ear. Guitars are classic Shuldiner,
classic Hamm. Heavy, melodic, virtuoso, everything guitar maestros of such class are
capable of producing. It comes as a complete surprise that the lead vocalist is a true
revelation. There is nothing wrong with Chuck's own vocal delivery yet Tim seems more fit
to do this hard task. Ranging from anger-fuelled howls to JUDAS PRIEST-like
screams, from psychedelic chants that are more than reminiscent of Buddy Lackey from PSYCHOTIC
WALTZ to verbal harmonisation that far surpass everything Chuck has ever done.
Anyhow, this is a line-up made in heaven, or in hell? Not an all-star collection of
washed-up druggies, but a true ensemble of highly skilled musicians that deliver the goods
leaving you with an after-taste for more, more, MORE...
- There is one more thing. The other day I was contemplating once again about this band
and the album. An obvious question struck me hard on the head. Is this really a heavy
metal statement? I am not so sure anymore. Bear in mind that any usual, ordinary heavy
metal band from the current musical scene nowadays presents the music using the following
clichés: the so-called intro, a chorus in 4/4 beat with lame guitar chord, a refrain
about the death of the universe, then they both repeat again when it comes to a stupid
guitar solo, ending this grotesque charade with yet another refrain only this time in
other key, or what is more likely, using some other preferably a higher note.
- CONTROL DENIED is everything but that. It is heavy metal but there is
so much happening in the music itself. A second won't pass without something interesting
happening, and this will keep you listening more closely. A weird bass line (I am used to
that!), a cymbal here, cymbals there, cymbals everywhere (never have I heard so many
double-rides as right here on this crazy album!), during the solos beats change all the
time (all that jazz!), melodic guitar chords in harmony with vocals...Just listen to the
chorus in When the Link Becomes Missing, or better yet, listen to the drum work
in the refrain of the same, listen to how Believe opens, listen to the first
major bridge in Cut Down, listen to the 10 minutes of perfection in the title
song. Now, tell me if this is heavy metal!
- CONTROL DENIED is a musical voyage par excellence, the untouchable
band, the perfect album, the perfect production, the perfect line-up. Not for the
weak-minded, not for the faint-hearted, not for the deaf, dumb and blind.
- The Fragile Art of Existence is a long series of heavy punches
to the mind.
- Stay alert!