FRAGMENTS OF A RUINED MIND
Released: November 24, 2017
Fronted by the charismatic Billy Vass, Terra incΩgnita is a Greek metal band that mixes melodic metal with classic heavy metal elements and powerful male vocals. Formed in 2010, they self-released their debut album, “Barren Land” (2011), which received many favorable reviews by the press. After some line-up changes, Terra IncΩgnita had to re-invent itself, forcing the band into a 2-year hiatus. In 2017, the band was signed to Bob Katsionis' record label, Symmetric records, which has released the EP “Sign with Blood” (2016) as well as their 2nd album, titled, “Fragments of a Ruined Mind” (2017), a concept album with many twists and turns.
The band manages to blend together seamlessly many influences from Iced Earth and Black Sabbath to Fates Warning and Kamelot, thus generating a sound that is as melodic as it is aggressive, and as heavy as it is sensitive. With a firm base of classic melodic heavy metal at their core, their fusion of progressive, epic and atmospheric elements is reinforced and enhanced by the inclusion of dark themes throughout their compositions and lyrical subjects.
In the mist
A day without loss
Life begins again
The midnight lies
Sign with blood
My ruined mind
With “Fragments of a Ruined Mind”, Terra incΩgnita delivers a straightforward heavy metal album, with a lot of edge, solid riffs, and power metal-like vocals from frontman Billy Vass. The album tells the story of Strahd, which happens to be a tale of betrayal, love, death, loyalty, and in the end, eternal damnation. It starts on a very cinematic and atmospheric note with the intro “Strahd’s revenge”, but it soon picks up pace and heaviness, with the hard hitters “My emptiness” and “In the mist”, and I have to say I am really impressed with Billy Vass’s vocals (especially on the higher notes) and the instrumental. “The word” starts with a nice guitar riffs and drum beats, though overall it feels like a slower and less heavy song compared to the aforementioned ones, but still powerful enough. The rather short “A day without loss” is a piano driven, ballad, with some cello lines for extra dramatism, which showcases Billy’s vocals really well.
“Conqueror” has some undeniable Metallica vibes to it, though I am not sure if Billy tried to emulate James Hatfield in any way. Nonetheless, it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. “Life begins again” is a slow-paced, guitar driven metal-ballad, with beautiful, albeit sad, lyrics, which could be seen as the climax of the album’s story. This is the moments when Strahd finds himself at a crossroad. The rocking “The midnight lies” picks up pace with pounding drums, melodic guitars, powerful vocals and a very catchy chorus, making it sound like a power metal anthem. “Covenant” again brings back some heavy metal feel in the guitar work, while Billy’s emotional vocals soar above the instrumental, as he brings forth feelings of despair and loneliness. The up-beat “Sign with blood” and the powerful “My ruined mind” bring the album to a very dramatic and powerful close.
The instrumental side of the album is so great, I want to give a shout out to both Manos Kyritloglou and Stellios Zoulias for their brilliant guitar work, while Dimitris Kokonezis is hitting the drum kit with precision and gusto, and Tolis Avgeros’ bass lines add very much to the dynamics and dramatism of the songs. As I said before, I am as equally impressed with Billy Vass’s voice, so smooth and thunderous, it could work perfectly in a power metal band. And speaking of the vocal department, I really enjoy the fact that Stellios Zoulias’s growls and harsh vocals are used only in key moments and not throughout the album, balancing out Billy’s cleans beautifully.
All in all, “Fragments of a Ruined Mind” is a well-rounded metal album, with a nice flow and a good story behind it. It’s epic, powerful, heavy, emotional, and an enjoyable listen.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Billy Vass – Lead Vocals
Manos Kyritloglou – Lead Guitar
Stellios Zoulias – Rhythm Guitar / growls
Dimitris Kokonezis – Drums
Tolis Avgeros – Bass