Over the past weekend, Fractal Universe entertained fans around the globe with streaming event “The Impassable Horizon – Alive,” during which the band performed new album “The Impassable Horizon” in its entirety along with some favorites from prior albums. This one-off event comes just one month after the release of their third studio album, which followed two years after sophomore effort “Rhizomes of Insanity.” So with a clear understanding of concert-going in modern times, Fractal Universe took to the (virtual) stage to shine a spotlight of support on their latest sonic achievement.
The presentation of the performance itself was delightfully simple, a clean approach that kept the focus on the performance at hand rather than drowning the musicians in a sea of unnecessary effects. It was an intimate stage that kept the audience level with the band, cast largely in a series of unobtrusive white and purple lights. With enough room to maneuver and put their hearts into the set, Fractal Universe started full-throttle with blistering opener “Autopoiesis.”
Sporadic bursts of smoke and intricate backdrops added to the depth of the performance, and enhanced the delivery of the set by setting an atmosphere that accentuated the most extreme moments, such as the howled verses of “Interfering Spherical Scenes.” Most welcome of all is the fact that every shot dwelled on each musician long enough that the viewer was actually able to enjoy the displays of musicianship without being haphazardly pulled away. The cuts between views were sparing and always took care to highlight the most impressive points of technicality at any given moment. For work that focuses on progressive elements and extreme technicality, there was no better artistic choice for a stream that controls the viewer’s vantage point.
Between album tracks were short cinematic transitions, including artistic clips of caverns and subjects under black lights, tying together a more complete picture of the album’s atmosphere. These cut away to reveal the band and their impressive endurance as they tackled “The Impassable Horizon” from cover-to-cover without pause. It’s difficult not to immediately highlight the versatile multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Vince Wilquin, who leads the charge as Fractal Universe’s front-man. Not only did he captivate with powerful and unrelenting vocal prowess, but his hands were kept busy manning one of the act’s two guitars. The intensity of concentration required, coupled with the infallibility of his performance at center stage, truly made “The Impassable Horizon” come to life.
Even without a live audience, the band’s chemistry and cohesion was impressive to witness. The sheer artistic capabilities became even more apparent in “A Clockwork Expectation,” embodying the strongest elements from the album on a live stage, including Wilquin’s impassioned delivery on saxophone and technical mastery over guitar on the part of Hugo Florimond. From the clean delivery of backing vocals to the energetic headbanging, the band truly appeared to enjoy every minute spent playing. All the way through the closing notes it was clear that Fractal Universe poured their hearts into bringing “The Impassable Horizon” to life, and to great success with complementary stage production.
The Impassable Horizon Alive setlist:
Autopoiesis / A Clockwork Expectation / Interfering Spherical Scenes / Symmetrical Masquerade / Falls of the Earth / Withering Snowdrops / Black Sails of Melancholia / A Cosmological Arch / Epitaph / Godless Machinists