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Fractal Universe - The Impassable Horizon review




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Reviewer:
7.7

40 users:
7.72
Band: Fractal Universe
Album: The Impassable Horizon
Release date: June 2021


01. Autopoiesis
02. A Clockwork Expectation
03. Interfering Spherical Scenes
04. Symmetrical Masquerade
05. Falls Of The Earth
06. Withering Snowdrops
07. Black Sails Of Melancholia
08. A Cosmological Arch
09. Epitaph
10. Godless Machinists


If you thought for a moment that technical death required German precision, or American directness, or Canadian brutality, well, you would be right. However, the creativity of French people is not to be underestimated. Halfway between progressive metal and technical death, the combo from France known as Fractal Universe have shown huge promise with their previous effort Rizhomes Of Insanity, which landed them a working collaboration with Gojira and a European tour with non-other than Obscura before the pandemic hit. Excuse the references.

With Fractal Universe, be prepared to expect the unexpected. Also be prepared for a lot of mathematics and astronomical references in those lyrics. After all, fractals are images of dynamic systems driven by recursion that design unfinished patterns, also referred to pictures of chaos, which are strangely hypnotic and well, better organized than the mess that are supermarket shelving practices or auto insurance discount deals.

The music is technical death smashed together with traditional progressive metal and a hit of everything in between, including a little jazz, saxophone and all, groovy rhythms on select songs, and overall a complexity that leaves listeners a little perplexed on first listen. "Wait, this sounded like Threshold but a minute ago it was pure technical death and now it sounds like Gojira?". Yeah, it is a lot to ingest in one sitting but that is what extreme progressive metal is all about.

The Impassable Horizon is a couple of minutes shy of the hour mark, but it feels like three hours long due to its complex and saturated nature. Midway through the album, it sounds like you have entered an alternate dimension where a second album somehow sprouted out of the first one and reaching the end of the listening journey is but a fleeting illusion. That does not make it bad, not at all, but a tad mentally overwhelming.

Our universe might as a matter of fact be fractal, which would explain a lot. As for Fractal Universe, The Impassable Horizon is a set of infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales, and coincidentally a rather groovy progressive album of extreme metal in this planar version of the universe. It is truly enjoyable but requires massive effort to process, and the sheer amount of influences, rhythmic breaks, complex melodies, and added flavors might turn it into an exhausting experience at first. This is an album for patient listeners who enjoy complex, progressive, technical, and unpredictable metal. One day, you too will pass through this sonic event horizon from France.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 8





Written on 17.08.2021 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 63 users
17.08.2021 - 17:48
Netzach
Planewalker
*desperately trying to resist every urge to talk at length about fractals*
*admits to self previous line already shows signs of weakness*
*fractal cosmology and event horizons mentioned nnnggghh*

Tech death is a genre I've barely tried getting into (better late than never?), I wouldn't know where best to start with that. Fractals are beautiful, amazingly useful, and deceivingly simple patterns... Are they really unfinished patterns, or are they maybe the only truly finished patterns, as opposed to ones with finite resolution? My resistance failed, to nobody's surprise, I bet.

I very much enjoyed your analogies between mathematics and music here, they are deeply interrelated concepts. Music is pretty much the brain interpreting mathematical ratios between sounds, after all. Great read, cheers!
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17.08.2021 - 18:10
F3ynman2000

Written by Netzach on 17.08.2021 at 17:48

*desperately trying to resist every urge to talk at length about fractals*
*admits to self previous line already shows signs of weakness*
*fractal cosmology and event horizons mentioned nnnggghh*

Tech death is a genre I've barely tried getting into (better late than never?), I wouldn't know where best to start with that. Fractals are beautiful, amazingly useful, and deceivingly simple patterns... Are they really unfinished patterns, or are they maybe the only truly finished patterns, as opposed to ones with finite resolution? My resistance failed, to nobody's surprise, I bet.

I very much enjoyed your analogies between mathematics and music here, they are deeply interrelated concepts. Music is pretty much the brain interpreting mathematical ratios between sounds, after all. Great read, cheers!

As a physics student who works with math and listens to music everyday, I very much appreciated your comment! Fractals are indeed pretty crazy. I love it when (seemingly) abstract math concepts show up in nature! The question that always comes to me is: what came first - or rather what is more "real" - math or nature?
----
My Favorite Metal Albums of All Time: http://www.metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6697
150 Greatest Metal Songs: http://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6721
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17.08.2021 - 20:12
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by F3ynman2000 on 17.08.2021 at 18:10

As a physics student who works with math and listens to music everyday, I very much appreciated your comment! Fractals are indeed pretty crazy. I love it when (seemingly) abstract math concepts show up in nature! The question that always comes to me is: what came first - or rather what is more "real" - math or nature?

Oh, hello brother. I study mathematical physics and listen to music every day too, heheh... Oh, man, what a great question. I could likely discuss it for a lifetime... The self-similarity is the most curious thing about fractals I think, because self-similarity is everywhere, just slightly out of view, the way identical patterns appear in micro and macro, neural brain circuits and the cosmic web, consciousness and feedback loops, space-time and quantum information, event horizons and quark-gluon soup, black holes and superconductivity, gravity and entropy...

Well, isn't nature to the extent we can tell pretty much an abstraction of sensory inputs? One interpretation is that particles are, literally, physical manifestations of mathematical symmetries. Shit, this is already getting long. Hey, what came first, space or time? What does "came first" even mean (aka what is north of the North Pole?). What do "came" and "first" even mean separately, can they mean anything separately?

What is more real? First, gotta define "reality". I don't really see any reason to believe it exists as a meaningful concept at all.

Hey, is any of this lyrical themes on the album? I might wanna read those lyrics, hehehe...
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17.08.2021 - 23:32
F3ynman2000

Written by Netzach on 17.08.2021 at 20:12

Written by F3ynman2000 on 17.08.2021 at 18:10

The question that always comes to me is: what came first - or rather what is more "real" - math or nature?

Oh, hello brother. I study mathematical physics and listen to music every day too, heheh... Oh, man, what a great question. I could likely discuss it for a lifetime...

What is more real? First, gotta define "reality". I don't really see any reason to believe it exists as a meaningful concept at all.

Hey, is any of this lyrical themes on the album? I might wanna read those lyrics, hehehe...

Cool to see a fellow physicist
I actually haven't listened to this album yet - I just saw someone talking about fractals .
For me, my interpretation of math and nature has been something like this:
The things that math describe such as natural constants, or pi, golden ratio, and physics formulas ACTUALLY EXIST in nature (otherwise nature wouldn't be the way it is). However, our mathematical symbols and names are invented by humans - they don't exist in nature/ don't matter. In other words, 3.14159.. isn't special in general. It's only special in our decimal system because it REPRESENTS something that IS real (pi).

Something else I've been wondering about: is binary system "real" in nature? i.e., does everything in the universe fundamentally boil down to 0 and 1? Or is it an invention that is only based on our experiences (left,right, up, down, on, off, cold, warm, light, dark) - like the decimal system which only exists because we have ten fingers.
Then again, there ARE things in nature that are binary (namely spin), but is this just a special case of quantization, or is everything in nature binary?
----
My Favorite Metal Albums of All Time: http://www.metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6697
150 Greatest Metal Songs: http://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6721
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18.08.2021 - 00:07
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by F3ynman2000 on 17.08.2021 at 23:32

Stuff I wanna talk more about

Let's get a room, I'm already spamming physics all over around here, hah.
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19.08.2021 - 00:11
TheBigRossowski
Dudeist Priest
Written by F3ynman2000 on 17.08.2021 at 18:10

Written by Netzach on 17.08.2021 at 17:48

*desperately trying to resist every urge to talk at length about fractals*
*admits to self previous line already shows signs of weakness*
*fractal cosmology and event horizons mentioned nnnggghh*

Tech death is a genre I've barely tried getting into (better late than never?), I wouldn't know where best to start with that. Fractals are beautiful, amazingly useful, and deceivingly simple patterns... Are they really unfinished patterns, or are they maybe the only truly finished patterns, as opposed to ones with finite resolution? My resistance failed, to nobody's surprise, I bet.

I very much enjoyed your analogies between mathematics and music here, they are deeply interrelated concepts. Music is pretty much the brain interpreting mathematical ratios between sounds, after all. Great read, cheers!

As a physics student who works with math and listens to music everyday, I very much appreciated your comment! Fractals are indeed pretty crazy. I love it when (seemingly) abstract math concepts show up in nature! The question that always comes to me is: what came first - or rather what is more "real" - math or nature?


Or they're one in the same thing. You've surely seen this video of the sand resonance experiment. That blew my mind.

All that aside, I've been listening to this album for awhile now on YT since it was released. The saxophone... every time.
----
That rug really tied the room together, did it not?
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23.08.2021 - 17:48
JayMo4

Enjoying the physics talk. It's a remarkable universe, this one.

This album is also good. While not groundbreaking - not a lot of ground left to break in tech death, it seems - it is rich with melodies and weirdness that tech fans can appreciate. I do appreciate the progressive elements; it's not quite Alkaloid, but in the same neighborhood. Good stuff.
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