Fractal Universe – Rhizomes of Insanity

Rating: 4/5
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Released: 2019
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Band Line-up:

Vince Wilquin – Guitar / Vocals
Hugo Florimond – Guitar
Valentin Pelletier – Bass
Clément Denys – Drums


1. Oneiric Realisations
2. Flashes of Potentialities
3. Rising Oblivion
4. A Reality to Foreclose
5. Masterpiece’s Parallelism
6. Parabola of Silence
7. Madness’ Arabesques
8. Architectural Aberrations
9. Fundamental Dividing Principle
10. Chiasmus of the Damned
11. Collective Engram – Unplugged (Bonus Track)


Fractal Universe are a progressive death metal band on Metal Blade Records. They will be releasing their sophomore full length album ‘Rhizomes of Insanity’ on 19 April, 2019. It is a concept album about madness, as the title suggests. Compared to the band’s debut, RoI is more diverse and direct. Drummer Clement Denys explains ’it… goes more into the emotional musical aspect that we developed on (debut album) ‘Engram of Decline’.

Despite the very frequent rampant speediness of this album, all musicians are surprisingly precise and work together as if one. The super complex music must be a challenge to play live, as just one mistake could potentially cause a lot of confusion. Don’t just expect mindless blast beats and chugging with these people, instead you get real creativity from start to finish. The drum parts take advantage of the whole kit and the riffs are very notey, but well structured. The guitar leads are surprisingly light in tone with strong reliance of legato and tapping techniques. Relentless speed picked shredding that one might expect is relatively uncommon, but that doesn’t make the music soft at all. Rather, the soloing adds an interesting and unexpected sense of colour to the thoughtful brutality often in the background.

Interestingly, the song ‘Fundamental Dividing Principle’ features a saxophone solo. Despite its completely melodious nature, it seems as dark as hell in an extreme metal context. It’s so out of place it sounds wrong, and that only makes the sound more disturbing. Fractal Universe obviously aren’t a jazz ensemble, but if they were to expand on their traditional sax ideas, something really different could have been created. Still though, they are going for a sound that is very jarring and difficult to predict. Think some Sikth or System of a Down, FU just push the boundaries of skill and intensity a little further.

In conclusion, this stuff is far more impressive than typical death metal in terms of musicianship, complexity, composition, etc. Obviously it is recommended listening for DM fans, but it may be of interest to those out there who are tired of listening to the same kind of progressive rock/metal all the time. RoI may come as a bit of a shock to such people, but they won’t be able to deny the time and effort that went into its making. Maybe it could do with more variety, as most songs are in the same style, but the release is still crammed full of goodness. Give it a try!

Review by Simon Wiedemann