Fragment Soul’s debut album Axiom of Choice is an incredibly well put together work of love and atmosphere. The four track debut showcases talent and songwriting deluxe as the Greek five piece manages to make it a gripping and interesting journey through the dark spaces of the mind. At 42 minutes the four tracks present a challenging listen that will reward on each return, meanwhile the relatively short runtime - and short track list - leaves no room for filler or padding, as every moment of the album manages to build towards a whole that is both devastating and rewarding. The interplay between Dimitris Louvros' guitars and Vangelis Kakarougkas' keys make for the forefront of the melodic soundscape. Add to that Spiros Georgiou's emotive bass lines thickening out the playfield with a distinct touch that leads the lower register just as much as Louvros leads on the guitars.
Axiom of Choice doesn’t present a whole lot in the way of energy, instead opting for atmospheric darkness and melancholy to set the stage - and doing to wonderfully. Sometimes haunting, sometimes letting a few lights slip in - the small burst of energetic lead guitars around the three and a half minute mark in Every Heart Sings a Song comes to mind - though never really letting it take over. The lyrics all deal distinctly in dark themes, of pain, anguish and loss, as is befitting of the darkly lit sound, and made all the more real and living through the emotive performances of the two vocalists. No stranger to the touch of atmosphere, Heike Langhans (Draconian) performs guest vocals alongside Nick Argyriou. Together they build the emotive depth conveyed by the instrumentals, the chemistry between the two a thing of beauty. All the while the subtle keyboards layering the production add a slight symphonic touch that adds to the dramatic flair.
It is the thirteen minute opener that is the true highlight of the four; A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies is a perfect example of atmospheric progressive metal. It is a slow cooking beauty through dense bass lines allowing for Louvros’ sweet, melancholic guitars to shine, especially in the climax as Langhans’ delivers a chilling outro. The three “main” tracks are followed by the shorter, yet equally poignant and important, instrumental ballad Oedipus Complex where once again Louvros’ and Kakarougkas’ beautiful chemistry comes to play to close the album off; still keeping the slow, burning atmosphere present through the rest of the album, but adding a light and airy touch as it fades, leaving a lasting imprint. With Axiom of Choice, Fragment Soul deliver a soundscape not unlike that set by Thence, with vocal performances hearkening to that of Swedish atmospheric rock group Aoria, culminating in a sound that feels like it should be less unique than it ends up being. Fragment Soul present a haunting, near flawless debut album that will leave scorch marks just as it begs you to come back for more.
Standout tracks: A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies, Every Heart Sings a Song