This is the second album from solo blackened metalcore act The Ember, the Ash.
Fixation is an interesting blend of symphonic black metal and breakdown-heavy metalcore. Only a few bands are playing around with blackened elements in metalcore, to varying degrees of success, so it’s always good to hear another such act throw their interpretation of this unusual subgenre into the ring.
So, imagine heavy, metalcore-friendly breakdowns with black metal’s inherent sense of darkness, and you’ll have a rough idea of what Fixation sounds like. Sort of like Lamb of God meets Second to Sun. There’s more than just this oversimplification here though, as aspects of bands as diverse as Cradle of Filth, Viscera, Unearth, Dimmu Borgir, and Between the Buried and Me can also be heard, to name just a handful.
The songs are dynamic and emotive, balancing riff-heavy belligerence with symphonic atmosphere. The core of the album merges together metalcore and black metal, with aspects of these styles becoming more or less prominent depending on any given moment in any given song. The album has a good deal of variety in it, with a range of different ideas appearing here and there. This includes the unexpected inclusion of electronic and jazz-influenced sections, as just a couple of examples.
Fixation is a solid, well-realised release that does a good job smashing together two frequently opposing musical styles. The end result is 37 minutes of darkened heaviness that largely hits the spot, with sharp songs and atmospheric appeal.
A recommended listen for fans of atypical extremity.