Fragile Man

Dead Like Swansea

STEINMETAL (5/10) Out there in the vastness of space, looking into a blackened vacuum, motionless […]
By Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / Dory Khawand
November 4, 2013
Dead Like Swansea - Fragile Man album cover


Out there in the vastness of space, looking into a blackened vacuum, motionless and in a way soothed by the emptiness. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, there is the feeling of like being thrown into an air lock, banging heads into a steely floor aching with pain and disorientation. Talk about being fragile and lost. The ones that broke my concentration and brought me down to witness their samples fused Metalcore / Hardcore message where the German DEAD LIKE SWANSEA, following their newest release, "Fragile Man". It has been a while since the last time that I took upon myself to review this kind of far out of the reach of Metal, however, I have been quite confident that there will be always a chance to discover something interesting. Nonetheless, it didn't reasonably happen here with "Fragile Man", as I gradually noticed that I was about to hit another monotone wall of sound.

Maybe DEAD LIKE SWANSEA's possible advantages nowadays, and I don't mean by the electronic sampling that there have been more than a handful of bands using these, are their partial melodic decorativeness and their duo of vocalists. The vast majority of the titles on "Fragile Man" are what I usually call a dull state of mind, drone like music, not heading anywhere, just stuck in one place. It is probable that one might think that DEAD LIKE SWANSEA are progressed since their electronic maneuvers, yet these ingredients, at least on my bill, can't achieve progression. The riffing displays single notes staccatos, occasionally on the choruses there are decent melodies that aided on lowering the pressure hold on my brain due to the constantly dismal low tuned chords. The drumming isn't nearly creative, and I didn't look for inventive playing. Coming to the vocal line, thankfully for the two vocalists because these two chaps complete each other, one is a screamo barking flat lines and the other is a guttural, sort of a Death Metal growler, also not too developed with his own line. Song wise, there are glimpses of hope, but largely most of them shut down to the band's constant repetitive form. If there weren't actual choruses it would have been hard to recognize those as songs. Apparently, the choruses and the few melodic stints, along with the instrumental "Continuum" that came as a surprise among the ruins, saved the album from a complete meltdown.

"Fragile Man" had me collecting pieces that one might enjoy, or on several areas, withstand. At least when creating an instrumental, DEAD LIKE SWANSEA showed true promise, producing an harmonic tune that had me believing in their abilities. The electronic additions seemed like a mask, a reflection of what is missing in this band's songwriting process. Metalcore / Hardcore, or whatever, the tunes need to feel like songs other than smoldering kickdowns without a sense or endless shouts and grunts that sound identical all the time.


Thrash spread among young aspiring bands in the 80's as did Classic Rock in the 60's and Heavy Metal in the 70's, and these days ladies and gents, you have something called Djent, a parasite that reaps on new upcoming Metal bands. Bands like PERIPHERY and MESHUGGAH pioneered this new modern approach to Progressive heavy music and it's honestly one of the most entertaining and mosh-worthy thus far. Thankfully, our friends here DEAD LIKE SWANSEA take this style of guitar wanking on "Fragile Man" to its fullest extent and display musical strategies that ebb and flow with the great passage of time in this ever expanding world of musical creativity and variety.

"Fragile Man" is a very professionally mixed and mastered album... why even mention that you say? Modern Metal music isn't dependant anymore on how guitars will sound like on your grandpa's old technics headphones, and does somehow rely on the new expanded knowledge in sound design and mastering, and that is an exam most new album from most Metal genres has to pass. In addition, the guitars sounds so fresh and well-fitting they make the two extraordinary vocalists roar with more ferocious strength and power. Bass is very well audible, surprisingly and the drums... well... they couldn't have been any better, and that is my very professional opinion on a very overrated genre of music these days, may it be labeled as Progressive Metalcore, Djentcore, Djent, etc...

Standout tracks on this LP are "Earth" and "2nd Lap", both of which left me speechless and astounded with pure aestheticism. Overall, an album recommended for modern Metal fans, and especially for those into Djent music.

6 / 10

Had Potential

"Fragile Man" Track-listing:

1. Dear Chariten...
2. Fragile Man
3. To The Grave
4. Spotlights
5. Earth
6. Continuum
7. In Hope and Fear
8. 2nd Lap
9. Y.O.U.
10. Saint & Sinner

Dead Like Swansea Lineup:

Max Kersten - Vocals
Johannes "Butternutz" Zankl - Vocals
Clemens"King K" Kiefhaber - Guitar
Valentin Gabriel - Guitar
Jakob Schwägerl - Bass
Johannes "Herb" Heiduk - Drums

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