The late Chuck Schuldiner (Death) was often referred to and revered as the godfather of death metal. In the late nineties he got fed up with the genre’s limitations. He decided to expend his musical horizons and start a new band, called Control Denied. The other members involved were Richard Christy (drums), Shannon Hamm (guitars), Tim Aymar (vocals) and Steve DiGiorgio (bass). Thus far they have only released one album, entitled The Fragile Art Of Existence. In hindsight a somewhat grim title, taking into account Chuck’s declining health at the time and his untimely death.
The material presented on The Fragile Art Of Existence isn’t really that different from what Chuck previously had done on the last two Death albums. Control Denied has the same technical prowess, intricate song structures and tasteful guitar playing as Chuck’s previous band. The main differences are Tim Aymar’s clean vocals and the slower tempos. Furthermore the compositions themselves are much more in the vein of heavy and progressive metal. In some ways it’s not unlike what Nevermore did on their The Politics Of Ecstasy album.
Songs like Consumed, Expected The Unexpected, When The Link Becomes Missing, Cut Down and the title track have lost nothing of their magic and still hold their own to this very day. Control Denied fuses the best elements from heavy metal, progressive metal and death metal together in a truly unique way. Production wise it still sounds fresh as ever.
What can I say? The Fragile Art Of Existence is a modern metal classic in the truest sense of the word. I just hope that that second Control Denied album will see the light of day any time soon…
written by Raymond Westland