Chris Hare – Vocals
Steve Humphreys – Drums
Anthony ‘Coggy’ Coghlan – Bass
Lee Geary – Guitar
Chris Johnson – Guitar
1. Wolf Inside
2. Beyond Infinity
3. Radiant Wings
4. Fabled (Interlude)
5. The Owls are Not What They Seem
Fractions, a UK-based group, are here with their first EP, Forces. Self-described as “melodic metal”, this is an accurate enough (if fairly vague) term. More specifically, they bring a very familiar brand of something that seems to follow on from both the melodeath so popular in the late 90s/early 2000s, and the melodic metalcore that followed it.
Unfortunately, Fractions don’t really do anything to improve on this tired formula. Metalcore chugga-chugga instrumentation and screamo growls mingling with very mainstream clean vocals. The harder sections lack real punch and the softer ones more often strike as whiny than uplifting. Any impact the tempo or vocal changes are meant to have is lost by how completely predictable they are for anyone who’s heard anything like this before. It’s not truly unpleasant, and the band are competent, but none of it is good enough or different enough to leave any lasting impression. It’s made worse by the fact that every track (save the helpfully entitled “Fabled (Interlude)”) sounds exactly the same, just more of this faux brutality and screamo crooning.
Other bands do this better with stronger clean vocals, more fearsome breakdowns, more memorable songs. Forces feels like it’s following in their footsteps, but without any of these important aspects to actually make it good. I’ve listened to this EP over and over, and while I can remember the general sound due to having heard it before, I can’t recall a single thing about these specific songs.
It’s a shame, because I think buried in here are some more progressive ambitions. Maybe I’m just looking for something positive, but the songs are longer than might be expected, and the structures meander in a way that speaks of a band which might be able to do more, but are bogged down in these dull musical tropes. The EP is also self-produced, and the sound itself isn’t bad for that, if very clean.
If you’re a big fan of melodic metalcore/modern ‘alt metal’, you might enjoy this well enough. But for me, it’s just too shallow and predictable to leave a mark. Every aspect of the music is just too formulaic, especially within the EP itself, where it all just ends up sounding like the same general noise for half an hour. If this particular sound is your thing, then maybe it’ll be an enjoyable half an hour, but for me the only real emotion it elicited was boredom.