First Fragment – Dasein (Unique Leader)

Monday, 9th May 2016
Rating: 9.5/10

Death metal fans that have been keeping up with releases this year have to be thinking to themselves, “Is 2016 the year of Pat Tougas?” First he struck with Chthe’ilist, then Zealotry, and now First Fragment. Talk about being on a roll! Dasein is the band’s first full-length album, but you’d never guess such a thing while listening to it (though they did release an EP back in 2010 after all). This is insane yet balanced technical death metal meant to leave you delirious and drooling – and wanting to do it all over again the moment it ends.

Make no mistake about it, Dasein is unabashedly technical from the beginning and make no claims otherwise. The guitars are front and center, and rightly take up much of the album’s journey. That’s not to take away from the often frenetic and crazied vocals of David Brault-Pilon, whose roars and explosive rasps are also quite a treat (see “Emergence”). But the guitarwork is utterly dreamy (in a death metal way of course). Neo-classical influences, sprinklings of jazz, and even some flamenco (check out the beginning of “L’entite”) create an experience that, while often at blitzkrieg speed, never loses it’s appeal or begins to sound like a pile of riffs just for the sake of tossing as much at the listener as possible. Instead your ears are in for a treat, as melodic riffs come your way at lightning speed and create a mood that is surprisingly jovial. Hard not to grin with just the sleek melodies that fill up opener “Le Serment De Tsion,” let alone some of groovy bass work on “Gula.”

A technical death metal album that is downright pleasant on the ears, look to First Fragment to be seen in the same sentence as genre leaders like Gorod and Beyond Creation once the world is fully exposed to Dasein. It’s an album that you could sit around and dissect the riffs, leads, and structures to the nth degree, but it’s just as easy to enjoy the experience. Fun isn’t a word that usually aligns itself with technical death metal, but Dasein is full of it. Like-minded bands take note!

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