Phragments - New Kings And New Queens
Industrial, Dark Ambient Every physical body aims for equilibrium. This is the basic mechanism which cannot be escaped; it's a part of a basic chain of events. Sometimes the "equilibrium" is also guided by a state of rest when the processes are either stop completely or continue in extremely slow motion. I think that Slovakian based Phragments reached their equilibrium with the new album 'New Kings and New Queens', but I am not sure if this is for good.

It is natural that bands evolve during the exploration of new boundaries, but not always the changes are healthy. I remember Phragments drawing really cinematic soundscapes exploiting various elements of militaristic and neoclassical origin. After five years of complete silence, I was really pleased with the news about their comeback on Malignant Records during early 2013. And here it is, the cd wrapped in a beautiful cardboard cover lying on my table and waiting to be inserted inside my player. Sometimes I play a game with myself before running a new album and try to guess what is going to be on it judging by the cover and my previous acquaintance with the specific band. But what I hear from 'New Kings and New Queens' is quite a surprise. Where are the solemn melodies that I liked so much, where is the atmosphere of war and bloodshed, where are the elements that were so lovely five years ago. Where did the drum beat and wide orchestrations gone? What do I receive here is a straight forward drone ambient album without a compromise. But enough prejudice, if this is what the band wants to play today, then I will try to embrace it as it is.

So, where should I start from? First of all, the album contains six compositions of half an hour running time in total. All of them are the part of one conceptual idea and the music flows as one solid track. The first negative point is that it is really hard to feel the difference between the compositions and their changing, that's why I was unable to understand why this separation should had been existing at all. Maybe if I knew the story behind this concept, I could have felt the connection much more. But unfortunately I didn't, therefore I had to trust my own senses and emotional impulses of the album itself.

Being a kind of combination of dark ambient and drone ambient genres, as the album rolls on I have a strange but strong feeling, that it is simply stuck somewhere in between of them. For dark ambient music I expected it to be more cinematic with more special effects, and for drone ambient I expected it to have more droning loops. From the first chapter "The Foundations Shatter" the main player of this act is actually a background, that is really dark and dense, but it leaves too much space for something to happen and it doesn't. There are splashes of come activity here and there, like adding an organ loop in "New Kings" and "New Queens" and few gentle piano touches, or a few percussion beats. But their influence is quite minor leaving the stage for the same background hum that almost doesn't change its tempo or tone staying monotonous most of the time.

So, in my opinion, reaching the state of rest, or a kind of equilibrium, the Slovakian duo lost their charm and I feel 'New Kings and New Queens' to be too dry for the new image of the band. I think it is a really hard job to create an entertaining material with a minimalistic approach. But I am sure that if Matej continues to experiment on the field of drone ambient, he will reach a quite high level of artistic expression while he already has a good experience in sound manipulation and crafting high level complex soundscapes.
3
Brutal Resonance

Phragments - New Kings And New Queens

Every physical body aims for equilibrium. This is the basic mechanism which cannot be escaped; it's a part of a basic chain of events. Sometimes the "equilibrium" is also guided by a state of rest when the processes are either stop completely or continue in extremely slow motion. I think that Slovakian based Phragments reached their equilibrium with the new album 'New Kings and New Queens', but I am not sure if this is for good.

It is natural that bands evolve during the exploration of new boundaries, but not always the changes are healthy. I remember Phragments drawing really cinematic soundscapes exploiting various elements of militaristic and neoclassical origin. After five years of complete silence, I was really pleased with the news about their comeback on Malignant Records during early 2013. And here it is, the cd wrapped in a beautiful cardboard cover lying on my table and waiting to be inserted inside my player. Sometimes I play a game with myself before running a new album and try to guess what is going to be on it judging by the cover and my previous acquaintance with the specific band. But what I hear from 'New Kings and New Queens' is quite a surprise. Where are the solemn melodies that I liked so much, where is the atmosphere of war and bloodshed, where are the elements that were so lovely five years ago. Where did the drum beat and wide orchestrations gone? What do I receive here is a straight forward drone ambient album without a compromise. But enough prejudice, if this is what the band wants to play today, then I will try to embrace it as it is.

So, where should I start from? First of all, the album contains six compositions of half an hour running time in total. All of them are the part of one conceptual idea and the music flows as one solid track. The first negative point is that it is really hard to feel the difference between the compositions and their changing, that's why I was unable to understand why this separation should had been existing at all. Maybe if I knew the story behind this concept, I could have felt the connection much more. But unfortunately I didn't, therefore I had to trust my own senses and emotional impulses of the album itself.

Being a kind of combination of dark ambient and drone ambient genres, as the album rolls on I have a strange but strong feeling, that it is simply stuck somewhere in between of them. For dark ambient music I expected it to be more cinematic with more special effects, and for drone ambient I expected it to have more droning loops. From the first chapter "The Foundations Shatter" the main player of this act is actually a background, that is really dark and dense, but it leaves too much space for something to happen and it doesn't. There are splashes of come activity here and there, like adding an organ loop in "New Kings" and "New Queens" and few gentle piano touches, or a few percussion beats. But their influence is quite minor leaving the stage for the same background hum that almost doesn't change its tempo or tone staying monotonous most of the time.

So, in my opinion, reaching the state of rest, or a kind of equilibrium, the Slovakian duo lost their charm and I feel 'New Kings and New Queens' to be too dry for the new image of the band. I think it is a really hard job to create an entertaining material with a minimalistic approach. But I am sure that if Matej continues to experiment on the field of drone ambient, he will reach a quite high level of artistic expression while he already has a good experience in sound manipulation and crafting high level complex soundscapes. Jun 26 2013

Andrew Dienes

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
7
Shares

Buy this release

Malignant Records

Related articles

Invoke The Insult - 'Xposed'

Review, Mar 01 2011

Neonsol - 'Ecliptic'

Review, Sep 08 2014

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016