Not Fragile – Lost In A Dream 1993 (1989) – 94%
**I am only reviewing tracks 1-11, as the other tracks make up a few separate releases.**
First and foremost, thank you Germany. Thank you for supplying the metal world with so many fantastic bands in so many fantastic genres. Your country is responsible for some of the greatest things in the history of metal! There’s that crazy and frantic teutonic thrash scene. Then, of course, there is that pounding speed/power metal stuff you guys helped evolve!
While popular bands like Blind Guardian and Grave Digger have skimmed the surface of a mainstream following to varying degrees, there have always been unappreciated and underrated speed metal bands that time has forgotten. Not Fragile is one of these bands who have somehow never found a large audience, despite putting out some phenomenal material. Unfortunately, this album wasn’t released until 3 years after it was recorded. No wonder they were under everyone’s radar. Their stuff was released too late to have any real impact in the metal world. Had it been released in the proper year, I could easily see these guys on the same ladder of success as Blind Guardian. After all, this album does manage to be a bit better than any of BG’s first 3 albums, and those albums are great. You get blazing twin solos that match every aspect of what BG could do. You get these soaring high vocals that could totally give Hansi some welcome competition at the top. With these guys, what you see is what you get. What you get, is greatness.
One of the most interesting aspects of this album is despite how much it relies on twin melodies and catchiness, there is plenty of heavy riffage to consume. Certain riffs in breaks or behind solos go completely thrash. The guitar tone sounds like it was directly lifted from Defenders of the Faith. The twin solos couldn’t be more impressive. Some of them give off a somewhat hopeful and cheery emission. At other times however, they can sound a bit depressing. Going from one contrast to another is really the spark that sets this album apart from any other decent speed metal release. The entire time, every solo is perfect. You won’t find any misplaced notes, in the riffs either for that matter.
When you’ve got some epic and virtuosic guitars, you must not need the flashiest bass player, right? I mean look at Ian Hill. However, Mattias Belter happens to be one of the better bassists I’ve ever heard grace a speed metal album. You really can’t hear the bass all the time (mostly due to the thin and quiet overall production), but there are many technical bass breaks to satiate your appetite for rumbling thunder (Full Moon’s Rising, ). When you can hear the bass, you may sense it has the habit of following guitar leads for one instant, and then in another it cuts to adding support to the double bass drumming. The tone is as smooth as a dolphin, and really manages to make an impression when audible.
Speaking of drums, they aren’t really that special here. They do fit the music extremely well, so they really do nothing negative for the album. You’ll get all the standard speed metal beats with an extra helping of double bass on the side. One thing I do love about metal drumming is the historic gallop. You’ll find a bit of that here, which really manages to channel a Steve Harris and Clive Burr vibe.
While this album has some all out blazers (One Way To Glory, Too Fast, To Hunt and Be Hunted), also included are high speed, yet not as quite as fast songs that may be seen as a slightly more commercial approach. Welcome, You the Crowd for instance is really just a cheesy song to get the crowd more into the show I suppose. This song has a fairly silly chorus, with the vocals just sounding too cheery and unimaginative (this is a rare, but still noticeable problem on other songs as well). These are quickly blown away by an extremely Maiden-like trade-off solo section that lasts about a minute.
This band is the best. There! I said it. It is a statement that cannot be argued with, and that in turn makes it true! Do yourself a favor and check this out for some absolutely classy and high flying speed metal.
Highlights: Hard To Be Alive, Lost in a Dream, One Way to Glory, Too Fast, The Evil One
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