REVIEW: Damned Spring Fragrantia – “Chasm”

Damned Spring Fragrantia have a very good standing to get their name out; after playing UK Tech-Fest, signing a deal with Basick records and releasing a full-length back in 2013, they are finally back with more music. With a new guitarist, they now present their newest work: a five-track EP entitled Chasm. If you are familiar with the Italian band, you might know that their debut record (Divergences) was a very dense and chaotic piece of music, combining heavy chugs with mathcore elements.

Let’s focus on the new EP:

Chasm is a collection of five songs that keep on track with the band’s previous outputs. A mixture of progressive metalcore riffing and some 8-string mayhem. There still are heavy Meshuggah-ish grooves, aside from Architects-y refrains. “Umbra”, the Italian word for shadow, is one of those songs with this very emotional Architects component. Showcasing in the chorus, it delivers a mood that matches very well with the voice of singer Nicolò Carrara. Compared to Divergences, the overall production is way fatter and sounds clearly more differentiated within the guitars. But when it comes to said guitars, especially on „Float“, they sound very artificial and plastic. In fact; the digital sound really comes up in the intro groove, which has a very depressing but also mystic vibe.

All songs on Chasm hang in between those odd-time grooves and chorus-chord work, while the riffing isn’t as apparent. Hence the band works with a lot of groovy material, they also use a lot of overdubs in order to create ambiance. Almost similar to Born Of Osiris without synthesizers, the band manages this certain atmosphere. But also a slight touch of Vildhjarta‘s coldness is obvious by some instrumentals. The main issue basically reflects in a lack of diversity. All songs sound quite similar and none of them stands out with something surprising, unfortunately.

While Divergences seems to be a little more hectic and chaotic, the band managed to take shape into something more over-thought. Songs as “Pages“ are more sharpened and polished and are even more Vildhjarta influenced (especially the song’s ending). This ending could have used more of its momentum than simply fading out though. When looking on the songs’ lengths, it shows up that they all work in a time of 3:30 minutes, which is great for a short while listening; but won’t get the tracks the time to progress. A little more arrangement work could have gathered more of said momentum and make the songs proper reminiscent. The songs are heavy and catchy at parts, but do not stand out on an extreme. Instead, they remain within their comfort zone, on a very high level of rhythmically, without a doubt!

Oversaturated scene

It might sound harsh, but Chasm would have been a true banger if it was released 3 years earlier. It overall sounds a little old-fashioned, which is based on an oversaturated scene. The mass of quality bands is overwhelming and Damned Spring Fragrantia don’t stand out as much as they did when they released Divergences. This doesn’t make their new work an uncreative or bad record at all, but detracts from its effect.

If we consider the time that it took Damned Spring Fragrantia to get this EP out, we can hopefully see Chasm as an appetizer for more. It conveys its energy while pushing the band on the next level, but they’re not done yet. If the Italian outfit keeps on progressing into a more unique and diverse direction, they will be able to step up the game. If you like the listed bands you will enjoy this EP as well. Make sure to take a listen!

Score: 6/10

Notable Tracks: “Umbra”, Pages“

FFO: Vildhjarta, Architects, Northlane

Follow Damned Spring Fragrantia on FacebookChasm is due to be released on November 17th via Basick Records! You can pre-order it here (physical) and here (digital).

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