Frozen Sand – Fractals: A Shadow Out of Lights (Self-Released)Tuesday, 4th April 2017
Transmitting concepts as ‘narrators’ rather than musicians, Frozen Sand already present an intriguing first impression through this full-length Fractals: A Shadow Out of Lights. Almost seven years into their career with three EP’s and sixty gigs in the books, the quintet blaze a trail for storytelling, modern progressive metal – this time hedging more towards the latter concept while adding current movements as embellishment. Intertwining Italian and English lyrics and singing song to song (often appearing in the same track) also increases the dynamic diversity, giving the listener a multitude of ideas to consume and process.
A 4:14 instrumental “A Melody Through Time and Space” opens the proceedings in serenity, piano/orchestration leading the movement before the Dream Theater-esque “Perfect Inspiration” commands your attention, lower-tuned guitar action plus mesmerizing snare/tom rolls fill the landscape with colorful visions of circular musicianship and varied, theatrical vocal melodies. The jazzy/modern side comes forth in “Sail Towards the Unknown” – the rhythm section giving us a clinic in groove meets progressive time changes towards the concluding measures that rival the work of Rush, Tool, and Incubus. The Enigmatic (aka Tiziano Vitiello) represents an ace in the hole for his front and center bass play, rivaling the best in the business in terms of activity and excitement on the 7:06 highlight “Yell of Hesitation”. Employing clean and harsh vocals, Luca Pettinaroli as The Dreamer can be soothing to some or off putting to others – he certainly has his unique, alternative take on things, while not necessarily hitting those piercing upper echelon notes most progressive metal aficionados crave. The good cop/ bad cop switch ups for instance make “Rule This World” very exciting, although the speedy rap-background action is too Linkin Park-like for this scribe’s tastes.
Frozen Sand as a unit contains all the requisite tools necessary to make a sturdy impression on a modern progressive metal audience desiring something melodic yet different from the norm. So long as the group continue to accentuate their strengths in the bass play and mid-tempo guitar diversity, while minimizing some of the off kilter vocal action, they could cut themselves quite a tribe of followers.