The band Fractalmind sees its roots in a high school in Poland, somewhere around 2004 when two friends started to play music. Over the years and after several changes in the line-up, their debut album was released; Drugie Ja, which has lyrics in the band's native language. Fast forward another few years and more line-up changes, Fractalmind enlisted vocalist Marcin Walczak and the writing and recording of a second outing commenced. This time the lyrics are in English, to enlarge the musical horizon for the band. Although the band nowadays consists of the aforementioned Marcin on vocals, founder and guitarist Jarek Jaśkowiak, second guitar player Marcin Chmielecki, bass player Jakub Miaskowski and drummer Mateusz Wisniewski, the latter two entered the band after the recordings and their instruments were played by Mariusz Pietrow and Marcin Gajczun-Zawadzki respectively.
Although there are progressive rock elements in Fractalmind's music, technically the term progressive rock or metal doesn't really suit Fractalmind. The title of the album does give away the name of the band that must have been of any influence to the band; Staind. Marcin's vocal abilities and timbre are closely related to those of Staind's frontman Aaron Lewis. Bands like Disturbed, Alter Bridge and Tool can be referred to, with regards to the guitar sound. The Tool reference already can be heard when you push play and get to listen to the short Kaballh, a song that is followed by a very powerful riff that leads in Pilgrim, a song that is both heavily riff-orientated as well as focused on the absolutely amazing vocals of Marcin, who sings fine clean vocals with a nice rough edge. The progressive rock sound comes from the stunning instrumental part, close to the end of the song. Hellbound and the title track Stainless are incredibly solid and powerful alternative metal songs in the vein of the bands mentioned above. Sleepwalkers Dance turns from a power metal opening into a solid, heavy rock style composition, including an amazing guitar solo, where again Marcin's vocals get a chance to shine. In REM, the band has their optimal ballad; emotional vocal parts and several guitar solos turn this into an intriguing song that has airplay potential. A fine percussive part takes us to a surprisingly progressive song; Chrysalis, and it must be the guitar movements that are responsible for that, for I don't see Marcin's vocals as the typical progressive voice. My Oleander, Chant Of Life and Eldorados are strong powerful songs, continuations of some of the previous heavier compositions on the album. Catchy, mesmerizing, mid-tempo and with a Creed touch is Airborne, highlighting the guitar parts. Like REM, Dreamriver is a ballad-like composition, acoustically driven this time, just as the album's final track Still Life is. This final track shows the purity of Fractalmind's music, just a voice and an acoustic guitar that can take you to heaven.
As I wrote the moniker progressive rock doesn't really fit, when it comes to Fractalmind's Stainless, but what we get is a very solid and strong album in the vein of the aforementioned alterative metal/ rock bands. This is an album I truly appreciate, introducing a great vocalist, who sings his lyrics without any accent. The band is also re-recording their debut album, with English lyrics this time; can't wait to hear that! A band with a promising future, I predict!
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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