Montreal’s Fractal Cypher presents its new 4-track EP, “Prelude to an Impending Outcome”, and it served as my introduction to the quartet. A follow up to their 2016 debut “The Human Paradox”, this EP offers a skillfully blended array of influences, in a package that definitely channels memories of “Images & Words” era Dream Theater.
The four tracks feature complex arrangements and virtuosity, but avoid the feeling of self-indulgence this genre of music often exudes. Fractal Cypher is made up of ex-Far From Reality members Simon Lavoie (vocals), Ludovick Daoust (keyboard), and Vincent Bruneau (guitar) with the addition of Tommy Fradette on bass and Steven Cope on drums, and each musician is on top of their game on this release.
The band intended the songs to take the listener on an auditory roller coaster ride, shifting from one genre to another, and I expected an album that’d be all over the place. But it’s not: Fractal Cypher manages to carve its identity out of these influences by forging adventurous tracks that twist and turn on a dime. By never playing safe, it simply becomes normal to blend in different sounds.
Because of that, the temptation is strong to try to pinpoint individual influences, but the album is way more fun once you let go and just go along for the ride. It’s a great progressive metal record, and now, excuse me while I go and check out their debut album.