Since the band’s inception in 2006, Italian techy mob Damned Spring Fragrantia have been making waves, releasing two EPs and a full length. Since welcoming a new guitarist into the fold last year, the band have beavered away on the new EP Chasm, the follow-up to 2012’s full length Divergences.
The band have been gradually mixing tech and djent elements into their sound since starting out and Chasm certainly bears this out. The guitar tone is crisp and chunky without sacrificing cleaner, more melodic passages; the drumming frenetic and skittish and the vocals eschew clean singing for a more mid-pitched scream with the occasional foray into deeper territories, but these are few and far between. Damned Spring Fragrantia opt to stick with the tried-and-tested djent formula of off-kilter riffing executed with mechanical precision, with harmonics thrown around for good measure for variety.
While certainly not lacking in technicality, Damned Spring Fragrantia do lack somewhat in originality. Despite the shortened format lending itself to more concise songwriting with less room, if any, for filler, Chasm feels remarkably forgettable. The songs flow well but they also blend together into a haze of harmonics and mid-range screams with the chug-chug of the guitars holding it together.
Chasm is by no means a bad release. The songwriting is concise and the musicianship tight and complex without coming across as self-indulgent or pretentious, a pitfall too many proggier bands fall into. Undoubtedly the band’s star will continue to rise in the increasingly crowded tech-metal and djent circles given the band’s stellar execution but a sense of the band treading water pervades the release with unadventurous writing that simply doesn’t back up the adept musicianship on display.