Fractal Gates – One With Dawn

Fractal Gates – One With Dawn
Self-released

Release Date: 14/04/2024
Running Time: 58:59
Review by Laura Barnes
9/10

Greetings, all! I apologise for my absence over the last couple of weeks, but do not fear! I have awoken from my slumber armed with a collection of the finest Metal releases the underground has to offer. The first offering I present to you is “One With Dawn”, the latest release from French Death Metal band Fractal Gates. First formed in 2007, Fractal Gates have been fusing their Melodic Death Metal sound with sci-fi and philosophical themes for many years now, and have an impressive 4 albums under their belt. However, “One With Dawn” marks their first full-length release in six years. Lesser bands have lived and died during the time Fractal Gates took to make this album, and such a gap begs the question: can a band truly survive such a hiatus? After all this time, is the magic still alive?

I needn’t have worried. “One With Dawn” is an absolutely firecracker of a release, practically sizzling with vigour, passion, and energy. Six years may have passed, but Fractal Gates’ clear love of late 90s / early 00s Melodic Death Metal is a timeless one. The guitar melodies on this album are absolutely beautiful, gaining a life of their own as they shoot out of the speaker and up into space. The atmosphere Fractal Gates create throughout this release is a unique one, especially on songs like ‘Serenity’. Melancholic yet hopeful, this is a soundscape made for gazing at the stars, pondering the past and dreaming of the future. The lyrics are a little hard to make out on occasion, y’know, on account of them being Death Metal growls and all, but it’s worth taking the time to listen and decipher. To pick out one example, ‘Severence’ sees vocalist Sebastien Pierre describe ‘The curse of a curtained life / Like a muted scream of thunder’. In a genre that can toss around clichés like a football, it’s refreshing to hear figurative language as unique and thought-provoking as this. 

Of course, whenever Melodic Death Metal is brought up, there’s always an elephant in the room to address. Many would argue that this is a subgenre that peaked in its inception, way back in Gothenburg in the early 90s. And yes, sure, it is very difficult to listen to this kind of music without thinking back to the first time you heard Dark Tranquility and had your mind absolutely blown, but I firmly refute the idea that modern day Melodeath is simply nostalgia-bait. While Fractal Gates are clearly inspired by all things Melodic and Swedish, their dedication to atmosphere and their use of occasional electronic elements ensures that Fractal Gates have an identity of their own. The inclusion of clean vocals on tracks like ‘Into The Unknown’ and ‘Earthbound’ also helps with this, and provides a little something for Classic Metal and Progressive Metal fans to enjoy. ‘Earthbound’ also gets bonus points for having a chorus hook so catchy it will live on in your head for days!

By now, it should be pretty clear that “One With Dawn” is an absolutely top-notch release. Both the musicianship and the production indicate professionalism across the board, so much so that it is almost difficult to believe that this is an independent release. Fans of bands like Parius, Cyhra, Furnace and Dark Tranquility will find their appetites quelled and then some by this release, re-solidifying Fractal Gates as a worthwhile member of the Melodeath scene. Please don’t make us wait another six years for the next one, lads!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Visions XIII
02. Shining Fall
03. Seamless Days
04. Into The Unknown
05. When the Distance Paints Us
06. Earthbound
07. Half Alive
08. Visions XIV
09. One with Dawn
10. Hyperstate
11. Serenity
12. Severance
13. Echoing Motions
14. Visions XV

Bonus Tracks:
The Eclipse (2024)
Skies of Orion (2024)

LINE-UP:
Stéphane Peudupin : Lead / Rhythm guitar, synths 
Sébastien Pierre : Vocals, synths 
Jérémy Briquet : Drums 
Antoine Verdier : Bass guitar 
Arnaud Hoarau : Rhythm guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.