New Sun - Fractured

Year of Release: 1995
Label: Blue Seven Music
Catalog Number: NS101CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:45:00

Fractured was New Sun's debut album, released in 1995. They followed this with Affects in 1997 and are working on new material for a third disk. What is true of both disks is the Rush influence, but, for the most part it only colors their sound rather than being the main thrust. Certainly, the opening track, the appropriately entitled "Intro" has the strongest Rush influence, especially in the guitar tones and style used. But from there it launches itself elsewhere.

But then, once you get beyond that, making any concrete comparison becomes elusive, especially if you're trying to compare them to some of the more recognizable bands. Christopher Scott has a unique voice, and I mean that in positive way, because I can't give you a "think of" kind of guide.

The second track, "The Sprawl" does take on some Marillion like characteristics - tentative keyboard washes, probing guitar?notes that poke and prod as they make their way forward, only to settle back into swirling circles. There is a strong sense of restraint, giving this track a nervous, edgy feel.

"Glass" is full of light, sparse guitar, brisk bass, lively percussion, and casual vocals until you reach the chorus where something has been let loose, and which brings this track into a much darker, denser arrangement, as it spirals inwards to implosion, coming just short of that. And then it starts again, churning its way to an almost sudden conclusion, leaving no resolution.

"Then And Now" moves into yet another bit of territory - mostly filled with gently swooping and undulating keyboard washes, threatening something more sweeping, more expansive. But it remains restrained and mellow and quite good. The drums, bass, and acoustic guitar maintain a steady mid-tempo rhythm. This is that kind of reflective track that evokes images of the ocean at dusk, waves crashing and swirling around a rocky shore, a lone figure gazing off into the distance as the sun sinks, heralding the passing of another season. I can't quite put this into words, but it is by far my favorite track on the album, exuding the warmth of remembrance tinged with melancholy.

This looking back is continued "Remembering You," which opens with the warm, lilting vocals of guest Monica Pasqual, who trades off vocals with Christopher Scott. Pasqual's tone is close to that of Renaissance's Annie Haslem, perhaps even closer to The Gathering's Anneke van Giersbergen - at least to my ears. Scott's vocals are rawer in comparison, earthier, providing a nice contrast.

"Switched By Remote" has moments where it sounds a bit like Rush's "Subdivisions" musically. The vocals are less than straightforward, as Scott seems to be singing from deep within, forcing the lyrics out through a constricted throat. Not something I was immediately attracted to, but taken in the context of the song, it works.

"Deathbird" comes across as crunchless progressive metal, full of heavy guitar, deep vocals (sans being growly). But, here again New Sun give over to their melodic tendencies as there is a delicate, repeated guitar phrase over light percussion, understated bass, and subtle keyboard washes. Just when you think it might get overlong, the percussion moves up a bit, changing the character. From this, it builds back up to the dark, heavy atmospherics.

Overall this is a strong debut, and another strong voice for modern progressive rock, bringing it into the next century. There's quite a bit to like about this album, quite a bit, and I find more and more as it gets repeated plays. Recommended.

[Christopher Scott wrote, subsequent to this review's posting: "[The keyboard washes are] actually guitar. No keys used for wash tones. In fact there is only three keyboard parts on the whole CD!"]

Intro (2:12) / The Sprawl (5:49) / Glass (7:35) / Then & Now (8:20) / Remembering You (6:30) / Switched By Remote (4:24) / Deathbird (5:38) / Earthlost (8:47) / Lifeforce (5:33) / Indecisions (6:57)

D. L. Erickson - guitars and keyboards
Alex Kley - bass
Christopher Scott - guitars, vocals, keyboards, acillatem processor, samples
Chris Trujillo - drums, percussion, and vocals

Fractured (1995)
Affects (1997)
Expectations (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: December 13th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1606
Language: english


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