Dan interviewed by The Metal Voice Magazine
And your history? There is not a lot of information we can read about it, so can you tell us the most important facts about it?
Well my music really hasn't changed since I was 17 and Fragile Existence is just a continuation of that. I always write music so I needed to assemble a group of like minded individuals. We started with our old drummer Max and added Eric shortly. We recorded Departing the Damned with that lineup. Then Max left and Morten and Matt joined to bring us to our current lineup. If anyone leaves I am killing them (joking)
As a follow up, could you please introduce your latest Cataclysms and Beginnings effort. Maybe you can tell us a little something about the release?
I am so pleased with this album! It turned out to be exactly how I would want it to and everyone did an excellent job. I am speaking for myself but I try to make music I want to listen to to and I rock it all the time. We went straight to the throat on this one but it's also more diverse.
Well it's just about life and the human condition. We live on a planet with finite resources and I think we are so wrapped up in our own shit and worrying about money that we are going to fuck ourselves and everything else on this rock. I feel frustrated and embarrassed to be a human being sometimes and I guess this band helps me vent that. So it deals with the knife's edge that we teeter on.
Which songs off the album do you feel represent Fragile Existence the best?
All of them . We don't release material we don't like.
So how would you characterize your music in terms of the genre are you playing?
Well I would say we are a death metal band but we cross those borders often because I don't just listen to death metal. I hate thinking in genres.
What were your musical influences when growing up and where do you find inspiration now, both musically and lyrically?
Well growing up I heard a lot of classic rock and world music which helped. From there I got into metal and it's a form of music that speaks to me because it's honest and high energy. As an adult I listen to a wide variety of music but mostly metal. Right now I am cranking Slayer and a beer Lofl. As far as lyrical inspiration I sing a lot about the world I see and the injustice and dark side of human beings. I am a fucked up person with a dark side so with all the booze and drugs it's not hard to write an album like this. That said I am not evil or pretend to be.
Well I started the band and wrote a lot myself. On this album I wrote 7 of the songs and all of the lyrics. Eric did three and Matt and Morten write all of their parts. We all take it seriously but it's something we enjoy. I think Matt takes it the most serious because he is always pushing us in the business department which is great! Personally I just want to destroy everything and give people goose bumps.
You are currently are not signed to any record label (which is a shame as your album is killer) Is this a choice, was there or is there any label interest now that your new album is out and about?
No we are completely independent for now. Matt is a sound engineer so he recorded the album. As far as offers we have yet to have anything worthwhile to sign. I like the idea of steering the ship but if we find a deal in our best interest we would look into it. Would be nice to tour and not have to work though.....
If you could select 3 Metal albums, that would be your top of all time what albums would they be?
Metallica - Master Of Puppets, Slayer - South Of Heaven, Morbid Angel - Domination
Canada I think is hard for bands because everything is a huge drive away. Speaking of Canada check out Deamon from Ottawa!
Any last words? They are all yours...
Buy our record and play it till your ears bleed!
Reviews - "Cataclysms and Beginnings"
I haven't had the chance to listen to their debut album, but here I have Fragile Existence's second full-length release to introduce me to their music.
The band was formed in 2007 and by the sound of this album I'd says the experience they gathered in the meantime is obvious, Cataclysms and Beginnings is such a complete Death Metal material that I think every serious follower of this genre will find something on his/her liking on it.
10 tracks, 48 minutes of brutal, technical, melodic Death Metal, a successful take on Traditional Death Metal seen from a modern, fresh perspective even with a slight touch of progressive to it, their music has it all, from mind-blowing guitar solos to incisive bass lines, blasting drums, from versatile and impressive vocals to semi-acoustic guitars, and from ultra-brutal parts to some more melodic and soft.
One of the most complete traditional Death Metal releases I've had the chance to listen to lately, one that offers instead of excessive anything, a steady, well-crafted and well-thought dose of everything, not sure if I make myself clear enough here.
Reviewed by Adrian
FRAGILE EXISTENCE is an Extreme/Death Metal band based out of Toronto, Canada, and formed in 2007. “Cataclysms and Beginnings” is the band’s second full-length album, and contains ten tracks. The band purports that they are not as simply categorizes as Death Metal, though this is probably the closest description.
From their bio, “With vocals ranging from guttural roars to ethereal shrieks, complex cascading guitar solos are anchored by hammering, vicious drumming, FRAGILE EXISTENCE is the new breed of Extreme Music.”
As I take in the album as a whole, I would have to agree with some of their points. One thing this is not, is stagnant, repetitive and narrowly defined Death Metal, in the traditional sense of genre boundaries. Though at its core it is certainly extremely brutal and relentless, the band is able to bring some additional sounds into the fold, and seems unwilling to allow any one compositional structure to dominate the landscape. They also have a pretty commanding presence of their musicianship and technical abilities. Strongest among this might be the drumming. Morten is able to vary the style several times during the same track so that it does not become repetitive. “Malignant Design” is a good example of this.
The vocal approach varies as well. Too often I find that many bands in this style are content to just lay on that super-low, guttural grunt as the only way to communicate the music. But here we have a combination of approaches. There are even semi-clean vocals here and there. “Limitless Genocide” is a track where I find the vocals are done particularly well in this way. The album is not entirely devoid of melody as well, which is another signature part of many bands performing this style of music. Though the main riffs and rhythm guitars are often done in that super speedy style and frequent pig squeals are heard, there are a lot of times where they meet in harmony for an extended passage, or in a breakdown of sorts where the guitar melody is the main focus. The solo section towards the end of “Accommodating Demise”, and in the song “Upon Serpents They Prey” keys in that spirit well.
Sometimes however the sheer punishing end of this style is the main focus of the song, and it’s the energy and punch that drive the sound, as in the track “Clandestine Laboratories of Unbridled Malevolence”. But just when you think you have figured things out pretty well, they throw a nice curveball at you with the final track “The Skin Casket”. Not only is it the longest song on the album, but it really breathes well from the opening, suspenseful acoustic passage. Ultimately it leads to punishing brutality in the main body of the track, but I appreciate the temperance displayed. Fans of Death Metal and Extreme Metal will find this to their liking. The musicianship is strong and the depth of skull cracking deep.
Canadian death metal squad Fragile Existence have vomited forth their follow up to debut record ‘Departing the Damned’ this year, entitled ‘Cataclysms and Beginnings’, featured ten of some of 2015’s finest deathly riffs and brutality.
From the offset, Fragile Existence present a highly polished machine of brutality and death metal. The riffs are technical but not overly so, the groove on opening track ‘A Malignant Design’ is sickening, and there’s plenty of vocal variations to keep you occupied. The steamroller groove continues into the title track, that hits heavier than the proverbial ton of bricks. There’s oodles of melody in the savage ‘Limitless Genocide’, and dashes of discordance in the thunderous ‘Four Walls of Emptiness’.
There is a misstep in ‘Four Walls of Emptiness’, with the cleaner vocal section that doesn’t quite match up with the brutality of the rest of the record, but its a minor complaint. With the crush of ‘Accomodating Demise’ and the brilliantly titled ‘Clandestine Laboratories of Unbridled Malevolence’ leading the way, Fragile Existence have got themselves an excellent record here. I especially dig the banging ‘Pathogenic Nightmare’ with its wicked soloing.
‘Cataclysms and Beginnings’ is slick, well executed death metal with some great songwriting. Headbanging groove meets raging blasting in a great mix of modern and vintage death metal styles. It doesn’t do anything new or fancy, but who needs that with riffs this good?
Reviews - "Departing The Damned"
Toronto’s metal scene never stops amazing me, old school and new school alike. This time around, it pulls the best out of the mid to late 1990’s death metal era under the form of Fragile Existence.
Does the name sound familiar? This could very well be a reference to Chuck Schuldiner’s (of Death fame) Control Denied 1999 album, The Fragile Art of Existence. This album was one hell of a progressive album with all the elements of classic Death and surprisingly good traditional clean heavy metal vocals. Does Toronto’s Fragile Existence live up to those expectations in terms of style? Well, I’m not sure if it was intentional or not (the band is very careful about it), but I find it a good reference point.
Founding member Dan Glover seems to have been writing Departing the Damned as he was still playing with brutal death metal Nephelium. Although it should ring a bell in terms of technical skills, the two bands sit on very different shelves.
Departing the Damned was likely not recorded in a multi-million studio. The sound is good, but probably closer to your average 1990 analog death metal band rather than the 2012 hi-tech production. One thing that I particularly enjoy is that you can hear every single instrument relatively well, especially the bass guitar. This might not be Steve DiGiorgio, but the playing is capturing exactly the combination of fast picking AND free style so important in progressive death metal. Kudos here.
The musicianship brings you all over the place without tiring your ear. Somehow, they found a way to capture technicality and melodies alike. While I mentioned bass guitar previously, it’s really the double guitars and drums that form the meat and bones. The guitar arrangements go from technical death to trash, in a general vibe (and production) that reminds me of early Disciples of Power. There is a great dose of skills put into the guitar solos, such as the cascading solo of “A Gradual Decline” that would easily fit on Megadeth’s Rust in Peace. More kudos here. As for the vocals, well, they’re a mix of both generic death metal growl and clean vocals à-la-Jamey Jasta, or with rough edges reminiscent of early death metal clean vocals.
While the music is a great success, and the production fulfills its purpose, it’s in the overall flow and tracklisting that the album deserve its weakest points. Although I can’t pinpoint any weak song, I can’t pinpoint any centrepiece either. As if the order of the songs didn’t bother much, it feels more like a collection of songs. A simple breather or a progressive surprise in the middle of the album might have solved the problem. A case in point, they dare looping one same stoner riff for about 2 min 45 towards the end of the last song, called “Manifestations of Iniquity”, with brilliant results. Here, to my honest opinion, the trick draws a lot of attention and works incredibly well, bringing an unexpected shift in musical direction, and making the song clock without any difficulty at 9:19 minutes. This is the kind of surprise I’d like to find in any follow up to Departing the Damned.
Last but not least, Fragile Existence offers us the perfect artwork to sum up this solid piece of metal. Some kind of nightmarish red incubus/succubus emerging from a dead body out of the pits of hell, its back turned to a cold and dark landscape. This is the superb art of John Zig (Disgorge, Suffocation, Deranged, Sinister, Dying Fetus, and many more).