Anthems of Solitude Industrial, Dark Ambient Phragments Phragments is a dark ambient / drone project based in Slovakia whose first release, as far as I can see, dates back to 2005 with "Homo Homini Lvpvs". The project played around with industrial and martial mechanics to drive forth their beats and created a bit of niche for themselves. After the live release of "Awaken The Wolves" in 2006, we received "The Burning World" in 2007. A worthy follow-up to their debut album, more cinematic and orchestral songs awaited listeners of Phragments - they even sold out the physical CD version of the album. It was with their 2008 release, "Earth Shall Not Cover Their Blood", where the duo began to soften their tone as they played more into the hands of dark ambient pieces rather than the loud, boisterous industrial mechanics seen on previous albums. This shift in direction led to a five-year hiatus. The project returned with "New Kings and New Queens" in May of 2013 though excitement for the new album wasn't as well met as their previous outings. Our very own Andrew Dienes reviewed the album and complained at the lack of invention and creative outputs. He questioned, "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?" Overall, the album was ranked a five-out-of-ten. Phragments continued in their journey nonetheless and came back three years later with "All Towers Must Fall", another dark ambient piece that shifted slightly into industrial territory once more. And, now, four years later we land in country with "Anthems Of Solitude". This four track album lands at an approximate runtime of thirty-eight minutes and some seconds. Phragments has stated that each song on the album explores the concept of solitude and that it is a "reflection of one's being with oneself". When first looking at the album cover art - paired with the statements above - I could see how well the art complimented the themes. Sure, it is a simple piece but it's not one that will make me willingly peel my eyes away. It's a steady, gritty, gradient work with black at the bottom that slowly shifts into white at the top. A feeling of isolation is very much felt here. As always, and I like to state this in every review, the cover art does not bear weight on the score. It is just fun for me to explore.I have never listened to a Phragments album before, thus I have nothing to compare their work to aside from the brief glimpses I gave their previous works while working on this review. I slapped on my headphones as I always do with dark ambient pieces so every texture can be reeled in, and I locked myself into a solitary state jotting notes down as they came. When I first hit the play button I was greeted with the eleven-and-a-half minute meditation that is 'Hollow'. Peaceful and well produced are the only words that I can find to define it. But I also feel as if the phrase, "If you've heard it once, you've heard it before," can be used well here. This is a standard, typical dark ambient piece that does not fly out of its comfort zone. While not bad, it's also a bit boring, and on sequential plays of the album throughout the week I found myself forgetting that I was even listening to it. It was an unremarkable way to begin the album.Following 'Hollow' comes three additional songs 'Consequence', 'Frontiers of Hope', and 'An Ode To Our Times'. Many of the same statements can be said about these songs; they are well crafted and produced in comparison to many of the other dark ambient acts that I receive as promos on Brutal Resonance, but there is hardly anything that makes "Anthems of Solitude" stand out from the crowd. If someone were to hand me a mix of dark ambient works and threw 'Frontiers of Hope', for example, into the mix, I would not be able to point it out. But that's not to say that there are not signs of brilliance and forward momentum that Phragments can't build upon.At the fifty-three second mark of 'An Ode To Our Times', a slight screeching sound (but one that is not overbearing to my ears) played out and was quite nice to hear. Rather than just sitting through ten minutes of droning ambiance without character, I was given a texture to focus upon. But just as quickly as it came it went, and barely another interesting sound was heard on the song. This is what Phragments needs to focus on; they need to add more to their work in order for it to be appealing. To me it sounds as if Phragments has an excellent base that's solid and sturdy, but it's like an unfinished piece. It's the frame to a house which needs to be insulated and complete before it can truly be called home. I do believe, however, that if you are a fan of dark, meditative ambiance, you cannot go wrong with "Anthems of Solitude". It's not a demanding listen and will certainly accompany you on your journey into deeper thoughts. The album itself is available in digital, CD, and vinyl formats. This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page. Feel free to check it out for review, interview, and premiere opportunities.  350
Brutal Resonance

Phragments - Anthems of Solitude

5.5
"Mediocre"
Released off label 2020
Phragments is a dark ambient / drone project based in Slovakia whose first release, as far as I can see, dates back to 2005 with "Homo Homini Lvpvs". The project played around with industrial and martial mechanics to drive forth their beats and created a bit of niche for themselves. After the live release of "Awaken The Wolves" in 2006, we received "The Burning World" in 2007. A worthy follow-up to their debut album, more cinematic and orchestral songs awaited listeners of Phragments - they even sold out the physical CD version of the album. It was with their 2008 release, "Earth Shall Not Cover Their Blood", where the duo began to soften their tone as they played more into the hands of dark ambient pieces rather than the loud, boisterous industrial mechanics seen on previous albums. 

This shift in direction led to a five-year hiatus. The project returned with "New Kings and New Queens" in May of 2013 though excitement for the new album wasn't as well met as their previous outings. Our very own Andrew Dienes reviewed the album and complained at the lack of invention and creative outputs. He questioned, "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?" Overall, the album was ranked a five-out-of-ten. Phragments continued in their journey nonetheless and came back three years later with "All Towers Must Fall", another dark ambient piece that shifted slightly into industrial territory once more. And, now, four years later we land in country with "Anthems Of Solitude". 

This four track album lands at an approximate runtime of thirty-eight minutes and some seconds. Phragments has stated that each song on the album explores the concept of solitude and that it is a "reflection of one's being with oneself". When first looking at the album cover art - paired with the statements above - I could see how well the art complimented the themes. Sure, it is a simple piece but it's not one that will make me willingly peel my eyes away. It's a steady, gritty, gradient work with black at the bottom that slowly shifts into white at the top. A feeling of isolation is very much felt here. As always, and I like to state this in every review, the cover art does not bear weight on the score. It is just fun for me to explore.

I have never listened to a Phragments album before, thus I have nothing to compare their work to aside from the brief glimpses I gave their previous works while working on this review. I slapped on my headphones as I always do with dark ambient pieces so every texture can be reeled in, and I locked myself into a solitary state jotting notes down as they came. When I first hit the play button I was greeted with the eleven-and-a-half minute meditation that is 'Hollow'. Peaceful and well produced are the only words that I can find to define it. But I also feel as if the phrase, "If you've heard it once, you've heard it before," can be used well here. This is a standard, typical dark ambient piece that does not fly out of its comfort zone. While not bad, it's also a bit boring, and on sequential plays of the album throughout the week I found myself forgetting that I was even listening to it. It was an unremarkable way to begin the album.

Following 'Hollow' comes three additional songs 'Consequence', 'Frontiers of Hope', and 'An Ode To Our Times'. Many of the same statements can be said about these songs; they are well crafted and produced in comparison to many of the other dark ambient acts that I receive as promos on Brutal Resonance, but there is hardly anything that makes "Anthems of Solitude" stand out from the crowd. If someone were to hand me a mix of dark ambient works and threw 'Frontiers of Hope', for example, into the mix, I would not be able to point it out. But that's not to say that there are not signs of brilliance and forward momentum that Phragments can't build upon.

At the fifty-three second mark of 'An Ode To Our Times', a slight screeching sound (but one that is not overbearing to my ears) played out and was quite nice to hear. Rather than just sitting through ten minutes of droning ambiance without character, I was given a texture to focus upon. But just as quickly as it came it went, and barely another interesting sound was heard on the song. This is what Phragments needs to focus on; they need to add more to their work in order for it to be appealing. To me it sounds as if Phragments has an excellent base that's solid and sturdy, but it's like an unfinished piece. It's the frame to a house which needs to be insulated and complete before it can truly be called home. 

I do believe, however, that if you are a fan of dark, meditative ambiance, you cannot go wrong with "Anthems of Solitude". It's not a demanding listen and will certainly accompany you on your journey into deeper thoughts. The album itself is available in digital, CD, and vinyl formats. 

This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page. Feel free to check it out for review, interview, and premiere opportunities. 
Jan 03 2021

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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