Review: “Chasm” EP by Damned Spring Fragrantia

Released via Basic Records on 17th November, “Chasm” by Damned Spring Fragrantia is the follow up to 2013’s “Divergences”. Hailing from Parma, Italy, the five piece Tech-Metal crew are UK Tech-Fest bound this summer having previously played the festival in 2013. Having started out as a Deathcore band with Metalcore tinges in the early years, they upped their game for the debut full length, switching to a more progressive tech-metal sound with mathcore influences. Four years and a new guitarist on, how does new EP “Chasm” weigh up?

Opener and title track “Chasm” builds eerie atmospheric lead guitar work before overlaying it with a pummelling poly-rhythmic section. The opportunity to build into a 6 minute plus song is turned down however and the track brings to a close at 3 minutes 17 seconds. “Umbra” picks up with a riff that is similar in style to the mid-section of “Chasm”, DJent at it’s core. The 15-20 second drop into punk mid-song catches you off guard! By the time “Float” kicks in, it’s noticeable that frontman Nicolò Carrara’s vocals are either limited in terms of range or limited by choice. He very much sticks to a narrow bark akin to Bury Your Dead‘s Mat Bruso. “Float” drops the pace and builds the DJent layers while including more of the eerie atmospheric guitar work that was present on opener “Chasm” adding to the feel and flow of the EP as a whole. Some of the dissonant guitar work from Dario Zatti  and Enrico Picari is really impressive. “Pages” has more of a post-hardcore intro before a driving riff that adds a bounce and energy. It builds into something more tech-metal before falling back to a post-hardcore style once more with musicianship at the fore. It’s a real progressive track that demonstrates that the band can move through styles in a single song without losing your attention or it sounding completely out of place. That being said, there is no longer song within “Chasm”, despite the opportunity being there several songs to build into it. Instead everything sits at the later part of 3 minutes, not even reaching the 4 minute mark. Closer “Quasar” is probably the most technical song on the EP, building the dark atmospherics through DJent and piling breakdowns overlay-ed with leads.

Overall “Chasm” is a welcome return from a band who, much like The Arusha Accord, disappeared from the scene after a strong debut album. The EP is a short and to the point affair, full of dark tech-metal and DJent vibes while throwing the odd piece of something else into the mix. The issue is perhaps that while the bands musicianship shines throughout, there is nothing that really stands out in it’s own right. There is no track that is more memorable, either musically, lyrically or vocally. What you end up with is a more of a melting pot of an EP that works very well as a single piece of work but not to pick an individual song from. There is also a vibe to “Chasm” that the band are playing safe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but here what it means is Damned Spring Fragrantia end up not being that distinguishable from other bands currently on the scene. The production is also muddy at times which doesn’t help the overall sound quality. What “Chasm” has doing for it is that it’s a piece of work in it’s own right a start to finish concept style piece that works together. [6/10]

Tracklisting

1. Chasam
2. Umbra
3. Float
4. Pages
5. Quasar

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