Shattered Destiny - Fragments

4 songs
22:49 minutes
***** ***
(self released)


Founded only a year ago, American progressive power metal band Shattered Destiny didn’t lose any time to write and record their first EP Fragments. Formed by vocalist, keyboarder and songwriter JJ, the band further consists of two guitarists (one of whom is Russian) and a female bass player from Ukraine. So much for cross-cultural understanding! As the band didn’t have a drummer ready, they hired Mark Zonder of Fates Warning fame for the recording sessions in Sweden under the supervision of Martin Brändström (Dark Tranquility), Jens Bogren (Amon Amarth, Opeth), Joacim Cans and Pontus Norgren (both HammerFall). And so much for name dropping!

Despite this heavy Scandinavian involvement, Shattered Destiny still sound like an undiluted American power metal band, and I mean this with the highest respect. But let’s get finally to the music. The opener Welcome is a dramatic piece of power metal that recalls early Metal Church. Especially the rough yet melodic vocals set accents, but the songwriting doesn’t stand back. The chorus is a long drawn sequence of parts full of endearing pathos, coming apparently from an age when metal was still about playing heroic music instead of just trying to become ever more extreme.

The following Deceitful Heart is a kind of semi-ballad the way it was popular in the late Eighties and early Nineties, when bands still didn’t dare to play regular ballads, for the risk of being denounced as wimps or posers. JJ’s vocals don’t convince me too much when he sings cleanly, but the overall structure and the build-up of suspense still make this track a winner. Oblivion might polarise the listeners. The most European sounding track on the EP comes with this kind of anthemic chorus where even the slowest of mind will eventually have made out that this track’s title is "Oblivion". It’s kind of a silly piece of music, but then I have always held the firm conviction that if one musical genre has the right to silliness, it’s heavy metal! Fragments ends with the aptly titled Epilogue, the most progressive and least catchy track on the album. It’s here where the band displays its fullest potential, although I definitely also liked the more melodic preceding material.

A full album should come out soon, and if Shattered Destiny are able to maintain this high level over the course of an entire longplayer, my rating will be even higher. Until then, check out Fragments, and incredibly great debut that promises a lot for the future.

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