It is an exciting time for the tech metal scene with dedicated events such as Euroblast and UK Tech Fest in particular being a yearly fixture of everyone’s festival endeavours showcasing a plethora of bands from far and wide that fall within the realms of djent and progressive metal and a band that has gathered a lot of momentum since their recent inception are FRACTAL UNIVERSE. The french outfit quickly became the name on everyone’s lips when they burst onto the scene with their debut E.P. release Boundaries Of Reality in 2015 and they are gearing up to unleash their brand new full length offering entitled Engram Of Decline via Kolony Records on April 14th. We caught up with guitarist/vocalist Vince Wilquin and drummer Clément Denys to get an insight into the new album, their journey so far and the meteoric rise of the french metal scene.
You are set to release your debut LP, Engram of Decline, in April. What can fans
expect from the upcoming record?
Clément: They can expect a colourful and diversified album, combining aerials dynamics with intense riffing. They are going to explore many sonorities and rhythms.
Vince: The album mixes intense Death Metal with various progressive elements and a solid amount of groove. We experimented with lots of different sounds and instruments, and I think listeners might find themselves to be surprised throughout the record.
How do you feel FRACTAL UNIVERSE has progressed since your EP release Boundaries of Reality?
Vince: First of all, I think we all improved as musicians. We’ve been playing together for 2 years now, and I think we’ve built a solid musical cohesion. We learned to know each other, to shape our own sound and to develop our groove. And of course, we gained a lot of experience playing live!
The album is based on Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, can you explain the sort of themes and messages the album is going to address?
Vince: Through this album, we tried to understand the evolution of human thought, from the dawn of consciousness to the elaboration of complex social systems. We questioned ourselves about the origins of concepts such as spirituality, and the fundaments of our society. We tried to demonstrate how our species developed a collective subconscious, a “Collective Engram”, largely defining each individual from its very birth. The message we’d like to transmit is inspired by Nietzsche‘s metaphor of the “Decline”. He pictures the setting sun as an introspection path exploring the roots of the subconscious, necessary to understand, and eventually to free one’s self from these determinations. Thus, we assumed that in each human lies the ability to overcome one’s self. This is the Engram of Decline.
Why did you decide to centre the album around those themes?
Vince: I think that in the world we live in, it is most important to keep a critical and open mind. Art is one of the strongest and purest vectors of emotions, that’s why we wanna use it send a positive message, be it through our music or our lyrics. Our concept is purposely left open, and I hope everyone will be able to find something in it.
What were your main aims for the new album? Was there anything you approached differently?
Vince: The main goal was to develop and expand our own sound, while focusing on keeping the songs efficient and catchy. We wanted to incorporate various influences and colours, and this resulted in the addition of uncommon instruments such as percussions, saxophone, or fretless guitar. The composing process was nearly the same as before: the songs started out on Guitar Pro, and then turned into pre-production recordings, before they finally entered the rehearsal room. Of course, the major change this time was the addition of live drums: we spent a lot of time with Clément working on the grooves and dynamics, and it really brings the songs to the next level!
And with the album set for release in April, what are you hoping to achieve with Engram of Decline?
Vince: We hope to tour as much as possible, to meet new fans, and to share our passion around the world!
With a vast wealth of tech metal bands already vying for the spotlight what do you think sets FRACTAL UNIVERSE apart from the pack?
Clément: Even if we are sometimes compared to bands like GOROD, BEYOND CREATION and other progressive bands, I think if people give us a closer listen they will discover an authentic band with its own musical approach of the genre.
How does it feel to be just releasing your first full length album and already having the opportunity to work with Michael Keene (THE FACELESS) and Jorgen Munkeby (SHINING)?
Clément: We’re very happy and flattered to have their contributions on the record! Michael Keene has been a big influence for all of us, and it’s great to have his distinctive guitar sound on the album. Jørgen is impressive: his solo totally left us in awe, and I think the fans will be too!
It must be an exciting time to be living in France witnessing so many fantastic metal bands bursting onto the scene, are there any bands in particular that you think we should be watching out for?
Clément: A lot of good bands are growing in France, so it’s not to pick only a few. I would recommend ATLANTIS CHRONICLES and KADINJA which I really appreciate. Watch out the for the new ADAGIO’s album too!
What inspires you as a band?
Clément: Apart from the many talented bands we listen to: travelling and sharing unforgettable moments together. Meeting incredible musician and lots of new people at shows.
Do you have any future touring plans in the works? Which country would you most like to tour in given the opportunity?
Vince: The first step will be an European run, right after the album release in late April. We’ll play a bunch of shows through Italy, Poland, Germany, and Luxembourg. After that, we’ve plenty of shows scattered around spring and summer, including Slovenia’s MetalDays and Impetus Festival in France.
Clément: I would love to tour Canada and the US. I think that Canada has a very interesting scene with lots of great bands, especially in our kind of Metal. As I never got to visit the US, touring there would be truly awesome!
To close we will offer you the floor, do you have anything to say to the readers of Distorted Sound?
Vince & Clément: Thanks for reading us, we hope you’ll enjoy the album! Don’t forget to support your local artists and to keep the scene alive!
Engram of Decline is set for release on April 14th via Kolony Records.
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