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Fragments Of Unbecoming - Not a hit album! (Sascha Ehrich) - Online Oct. 2004

Germany has always been known for two things: Power Metal and Thrash. It's was a phenom in the 80's and part of the 90's, but things slowed down a bit and wasn't getting as much exposure as it once did unless you read underground mags and fanzines. However, it seems like Thrash has come back stronger and deadlier in the new millennium thanks to a batch of new blood like FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING. Where as in the beginning when bands like KREATOR and DESTRUCTION recorded albums that were not only raw, brutal and under produced, FOB keeps that part of the spirit alive and well, but they add a clean production that isn't too slick or polished, and they also add twin guitar melodies like in Scandinavia. The guys also incorporate seminal blast beats and some complex time changes and breakdowns. In the end, if you were a fan of old school Thrash, then you will be more than pleased by what the new kids have to offer. Lead guitarist Sascha Ehrich is one busy guy with his plate filled, but he was able to take a few minutes and inform me what makes this band different from the rest in this genre and what his immediate plans for the future if there are any.


You are in the process of creating your own record label called Sylphony Creations. What type of bands are you looking for to be on this label?


My small label "Sylphony Creations" was found in 2002 (at that time we released our first MCD "Bloodred Tales") to make one of my dreams come true at first. Basically, according to free time and space I will try to support and help with might and main some underground bands to grow up, play some more gigs or to get a bit more popular in the scene. Some projects are already planned for 2004 as for example the vinyl release of the debut album of STILLE OPROR (one layer of the split up IN THE WOODS…) which is an entirely acoustic album. Other releases are nearly confirmed, thus it's too early worth mentioning.  


You are quite the businessman. Not only will you have your own label, but you are also creating Precious Art, which will be your private Artwork Service. You will be selling your own artwork. How long have you been an artist? Will you sell other peoples work or just your own? What kind of art are you into?


Obviously, it seems that I really am a so called businessman. I'm working in my daily life as a graphic designer and preprint-coordinator in a printing company/design agency. Although this work is more or less dedicated to modern and trendy stuff and often has nothing to do with this kind of exposures. Certainly, this was one of the basic reasons why I enlightened my private company "Precious Art" in 1995/1996 - namely to create space for different artwork schemes, basically in the world of Metal. Since this time, I have been creating many band logotypes (e.g. the one of DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, NECROPHAGIST, FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING - certainly.) and some cover artworks for underground acts. For my personal part, it is not important and any kind of basic of "Precious Art" to sell artwork or to sell others pieces of work. More or less I have been trying to figure out over the past years (and I will continue in exploring my entire lifetime) which style fits the best to my individuality. And one thing is definitely sure - there is nearly nothing harder to find! Nowadays I have the impression that I already did one little step forward in creating artworks for different sceneries. For principle, I think that I want to create artwork at first for myself. I just want to be responsible for arranging my own ideas in reflecting mind contents.


I see that the band will be on the road in Europe this year. You have Summer Breeze festival on the list. Have you been asked to play on other festivals yet? How about touring? What does the schedule look like right now?


In any case, we want to play gigs and festivals as much as we are able to. You already mentioned the biggest event or festival we are playing in summer - we are performing this year on Summer Breeze which is a great honour for us! Some more gigs and underground festivals e.g. the "Zabbedusder"-Festival with "Altar", "Obscenity", "Harmony Dies" etc., two exclusive release gigs with AMON AMARTH in September and many more show in autumn and winter are already planned and confirmed and can be viewed on the homepage Concerning touring plans, we do not plan to hit the road in Europe that soon as every single one of us is working the whole week, the whole month, the whole year...thus, it is not that easy to jump on a tour or manage a self-financed one. Perhaps, it will be possible to support some tour gigs in Germany – we will see what time will tell.


I notice that you have one release before this one called "Bloodred Tales-Chapter One: The Crimson Season". Was that much different from your new release "Skywards"? Can we get the release in America and everywhere else that isn’t Europe that probably carries it in stock everywhere?


I think it is not easy to buy a copy of our first demonstration release outside Germany, because we only had some small distribution services in America (e.g. Relapse Records.) and Asia. But, for those who are interested in ordering the mini-CD in America, just send a mail to our friend and American distributor Mike Entwistle: He is the only supporter in America selling our first release! But now back to the point: Basically, the two releases are not that different at all, namely because "Skywards" can be described as a direct continuation from that point "Bloodred Tales" ended in 2002. Concentrating on stylistic elements we changed nearly nothing. A very important aspect for my personal part is the replacement of instrumental e-guitar parts on "Bloodred Tales" with the use of acoustic guitars to enrich or reinforce the natural sound and atmosphere on "Skywards" - it offers a deeper kind of charm. I can proudly admit that we in a way achieved it to sound like bands that released their albums about ten years ago. Some might call this anachronism but in our view nothing is overproduced or sounds like millions of bands nowadays. "Skywards" sounds professional but unique. Musically, we followed the path we yet went on "Bloodred Tales", although we developed our skill and ability to write impassioned songs. It is of great importance for us, that everybody who listens to "Skywards" recognizes that this can only be a FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING album. Concerning the songs itself, we can say that they again offer the listener a wide-ranged variation of different stylistic elements: One is more melodic, full of harmony and mid-tempo based, another one right beside is blasting without compromise, rich of aggression and brutality. We tried to create a constant equilibrium within the whole album, that is to say that there is a certain kind of red line, but no one is probably able to get it by hearing the album for one single time. It is important to listen to "Skywards" several times again and again to hear the differences and connections to dive into melodies and disharmonies. Certainly, there are many catchy riffs and melodies but in any case it is not a hit-album!


I would imagine that this is a concept story of sorts because there are two parts here and the second release is out now. Can you dive in just a little and let us know what the story is about briefly?


Concerning any parallels to contents of the titles, the choice to give chapters was not really done by purpose. The idea came up just to sequence the albums. Thus, the next album perhaps will be entitled ....-Chapter III ......, who knows? A connection between lyrical basics is not existent. Every album stands for itself and has its own basic concept. To take a look at some kind of concept behind "Skywards", the lyrics are, although this might not be viewable, very personal or close to my emotional exposures. To reduce it to some pertinent words, the lyrics and concept, especially on "Skywards" in substance tell about a certain passion, namely to ascend heavenwards, to leave something behind to step on unexplored virgin territory, to follow some kind of primordial instinct, to let the soul depart, to free oneself, to absorb light. In addition to that I always try to connect the lyrical basics, the compositions itself with artwork fitting to a complex system. To explain it: Starting to think about how the artwork should look like it was the main topic that there is a chromatic and thematic connection to the album title "Skywards" - thus I mainly used blue and white for basic colour arrangements, because of being the elementary colours of heaven. Perhaps, I prefer to create monochromatic artworks, because they offer a special atmosphere and mood. The artwork is basically built upon a mixture of brush and digital drawings or compositions. I wanted to create an artwork rich of light and showing a kind of reflection of the notion "Ascension". In a mysterious way, the Sylphe (poet: an elementary ghost connected to air, wind and breath and incarnated as some kind of beautiful female being) is placed on the cover as an obvious detail.


This CD is filled with complex time changes and mixes the best of melodic Death Metal and Thrash. Do you trace your roots back to the typical German bands of DESTRUCTION, SODOM and KREATOR or does it expand further than that?


To be honest, I am not that familiar with all the past Thrash and Power Metal bands from Germany because I never was into the "old" scene that intensively. I think I have two or three KREATOR vinyls and all the older BLIND GUARDIAN stuff up to "Imaginations From The Other Side". I always was more interested in the Scandinavian and American Death and Black Metal bands. To give a closer look of my influences or let me say roots of the band: I remember that my first contact with Death Metal was a real Swedish one (EDGE OF SANITY – “The Spectral Sorrows”, DARK TRANQUILLITY – “Skydancer”) and this definitely changed my point of view considering music in general. This fascination was and is rich of influence for me until nowadays. In my opinion, Swedish Death Metal is a genius and very unique form in music. I have never been besides listening to bands like EDGE OF SANITY, AT THE GATES, UNANIMATED, CARCASS, DISSECTION, OPETH, KATATONIA, and plenty of others that perform this unique style in Death Metal filled with brutality/aggression and calmness, harmony and disharmony, deathlike melancholy and liveliness, or especially fulfilled with these unforgettable acoustic and instrumental songs. It is just a pleasure to listen to downtuned guitars playing twin-melodies and harsh voices screaming out like their souls are slaughtered. Add a magnificent and unmistakable sound of Swedish studios like Sunlight, Unisound or Fredman and the perfect release is ready to conquer! I mean, I heard "Darkday" of EDGE OF SANITY’s album "The Spectral Sorrows" for the first time in 1994 or 1995 and still admire this piece of art.


The Thrash/Death Metal scene seems like it has been picking up a lot of steam over the past several years from all corners of the world. Do you see this sort of as a phenomenon or just a slow takeover?


I don’t know if we can call the growing scene as some kind of either phenomenon or takeover. These styles in Metal have been established over the years like every style in music settles if there is a certain interest or a market for. In addition to that it seems like that there are not any new styles invented as nearly every band gets inspired by traditional roots in Metal. On the contrary, especially concerning the Swedish scene, the change of the spirits in Swedish Death Metal, in short from old-school to modern or the new wave of Swedish Death Metal, was one part of the reasons why I planned to establish FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING. I really missed this old-school sound and the roughness of ancient recordings. Sometimes, while listening to the dusty vinyls of CARNAGE, ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, CARCASS, I get some kind of impression that these older albums are entirely free from pressure and based on merely impassioned song writing that had not to care about selling accounts. The productions had spirit and expressed a huge space for breath. Concerning actual releases, they are not really boring at all - there are some great bands like e.g. ETERNAL LIES, KAAMOS, UNMOORED, INCAPACITY etc. but in general, I prefer the older ones.


It seems like you have a good head on your shoulders by diving into a couple of businesses while being in the band. Do you have any other ventures you would like to tackle or will you just discover them as you bump into them?


Honestly, I always try to prevent to talk about future plans I’ve made until I will set them up to a kind of business. But, sometimes, as you called it, I also discover them by diving into them, more or less in a spontaneous way. The only thing I am able to say is the fact that I will do artworks or music for customers far beyond Metal in the future, too. I just refuse to draw my attention entirely to only one genre.




2002: Bloodred Tales – Chapter I – The Crimson Season (CD, Self-production)

2004: Skywards – A Sylphe’s Ascension (CD, Metal Blade)


Joe Florez

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