Fragment Soul – Axiom of Choice (Review)

Fragment Soul - Axiom of ChoiceFragment Soul are a Greek progressive doom band, and this is their debut album.

Axiom of Choice is a richly expressive work, which focuses on building atmosphere and emotion across four highly engaging songs, lasting 42 minutes in total. There’s no real heaviness or metal here, so don’t be misled by any of the genre tags or band references; this is slow, ethereal, gentle, and filled with feeling. It’s an album of depth and expansive ambience that, if you’re a fan of the style, should firmly root itself into your music collection.

Fragment Soul exist where the realms of progressive rock and melodic doom collide. This lesser-explored landscape is a vibrant and fertile area, and Fragment Soul make the most of the resources available to them here. These four songs are constructed from only the very best quality materials, and the band prove themselves to be very capable builders. The music is well-written and effectively realised, gradually unfolding and developing with careful, considered grace.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing opening track A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies before. It’s quite simply a great song, and reminds me of Anathema mixed with Katatonia. It also sounds exclusively like Fragment Soul, which is no mean feat considering how full of personality the other two bands are. The soft, beautiful voice of the singer of Draconian enriches this song, complementing the emotive crooning of the main vocalist. It turns out that she guests on all of the songs on this album, (with the exception of the closing instrumental), which I am very happy about. Both her and the band’s lead singer offer exceptional performances throughout the tracks.

The next two songs are nearly as long as the first’s 13 minutes and just as well-received. Anathema and Katatonia continue to be the main reference points, but you can hear other influences here and there too, (Radiohead and Steven Wilson, for example). The songs are slow and melancholic, using texture and emotion to weave worlds of expressive darkness for the listener to become absorbed in. Fragment Soul’s magic works its way with you gradually, but powerfully. The first listen is impressive, but it is multiple spins that truly reveal the potency of the band’s art.

The final song is an instrumental, and closes the album with a suitably emotive dark beauty.

Axiom of Choice is a highly accomplished work, make no mistake. Fragment Soul have completely delivered on their early promise, and this is an album of affecting material that deserves pride of place in any atmospheric music fan’s collection.

Essential listening.

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