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Fractured Spine : Memoirs Of A Shattered Mind (Anniversary Edition)

A rewarding and gloriously dark Gothic/Doom album, remastered for extra depth and clarity.

Originally released back in 2014, Fractured Spine's eclectic second album has been newly remastered in celebration of the ten year anniversary of the band. Hailing from Finland, Fractured Spine are essentially a two-piece outfit with Antti Kirjavainen playing all instruments and providing clean vocals, with Timo Kirjavainen providing harsh vocals, and occasional contributions from guest vocalists and session musicians. Fans of the original release will wonder just how different the new remaster is, and whether it is worthwhile owning both versions. Well, I can certainly confirm that 'Memoirs of a Shattered Mind' has had more than a superficial clean and polish. This new release is a substantially different animal, and there's clearly enough of a change to warrant fans of the original checking it out.

From the very beginning of the album, it's immediately apparent that there's been a considerable makeover of the source material. On the original release, opener '…And Now You're...', is an eerie synth-driven instrumental piece reminiscent of a horror movie soundtrack that ratchets up the tension before the all-out assault that follows. The newly remastered version, however, introduces violin effects and Gothic, chiming keys, and delivers an altogether more subtle, classy introduction to the album. That's not to say that it's necessarily a better interpretation than the original – that will be down to the preferences of the listener – but it is different, and certainly adds something to the 'Memoirs of a Shattered Mind' experience.

It's clear straight away then that this is more than a cash-in attempt. Too often in recent years have albums been remixed by big names (Steve Wilson, I'm looking at you) without a great deal of genuinely tangible difference from the original release, but that's not the case here. When Fractured Spine do bring the fury, which is from the opening seconds of the ferocious, hate-filled 'Dead to Me', it's raw, visceral, and laced with bitterness. The danger when dealing with such primal fury, could have been for the remastered version to strip away some of the rawness, make it sound overproduced; thankfully, that did not happen in this instance. The undiluted venom of the original remains devastatingly effective, whilst the remix provides a richer, fuller sound with a clearer vocal mix. The furious lyrics with their themes of betrayal and hatred are now that little bit more discernible despite the guttural Death/Doom style of delivery.

One of the most notable aspects of Fractured Mind is their eclecticism. There are many influences and styles melded together into a very distinctive and recognisable sound. Death/Doom, Industrial and Post-Metal elements are bound together with a Gothic flourish. The new remaster serves to heighten and accentuate these elements, providing not just improved sound quality and a louder mix, but new effects and layers have been added to the original that serve to expand the labyrinthine nature of an album which is thematically a descent into madness and ultimately suicide. As the closing line of final track, 'Suicide Patterns' clearly states, 'this is no fairy-tale'. Absolutely. If you peel back the cuddly exterior of any fairy-tale, there is usually a darkness lurking beneath, but nothing quite as dark as 'Memoirs of a Shattered Mind'. The way the tracks are ordered, the album does have a continuing narrative, and the extra depth the new version provides does add further depth to that.

Whether you have a copy of the original version or not, this a is a quality release that is well worth experiencing; whether it be as a companion piece to the original, or your first foray into the world of Fractured Spine, it's a rewarding and gloriously dark album with an eclectic range of influences that are expressed even more clearly on this anniversary remaster.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. …And Now You're...
2. Dead To Me
3. This Dying Soul
4. …And Gone Was I…
5. Depressed Of Daylight
6. Clock That Ticks
7. Shallow
8. Suicide Patterns

Duration : Approx. 34 minutes

Visit the Fractured Spine bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-10-15 by Nick Harkins
Thermal Mass
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