Fracture is the latest full-length album from the Illinois alt-rock duo, London Has Fallen. For those of you who listened to popular metal in the early 00s, Fracture treads plenty of familiar ground. Expertly mimicking the era’s greatest strengths with the skill and respect such a throwback deserves, Fracture is dark, emotional, and heavy – yet with plenty of pop sensibility. Easily the most impressive facet of London Has Fallen’s sound is the voice of lead singer Alecia Gates. Occasionally operatic, there’s also a pop-punk-like levity reminiscent of the squeaky passion Hayley Williams employed on Paramore’s debut, All We Know Is Falling. “Where We Went Wrong” is the album’s best example of this, and is followed by “Break Me,” a song featuring screamed male vocals that add a jarring amount of aggression to the track.
“Break Me” highlights the band’s metal influences in full force. There’s a bluesy guitar riff throughout the verses, and the song’s chorus is groovy and dramatic. Drama plays a big role in London Has Fallen’s sound but not always in a positive way; the band’s lyrics leave something to be desired. Typical representations of love lost and celebrated, anger, and sadness abound on Fracture. Their dedication to rhyme schemes is at times impressive and at other times corny as hell. “Ghosts” is a good example of the latter; however, the song is still a treat to listen to, with its heavy chorus and light verses that features a subtle acoustic guitar.
Subtle and sometimes strange instruments find their way into the mix on these songs. The acoustic guitar plays a more prominent role on “Fallen,” a harrowing portrayal of addiction, and again on the blues/country closing “Who I Used to Be.” Very brief piano parts on “Ghosts” are interesting at first, but just seem out of place after multiple listens.
Not knowing who plays what on this record makes it difficult to give Cameron Gorham proper credit for his role on the record as instrumentalist and producer, a title both members share. I will say that London Has Fallen is seamless in their ability to make the record sound like a full band. Only the occasional fake drum sound or exaggerated vocal effect draws attention to the sheer amount of technical wizardry the duo explores, but more often than not, it simply adds atmosphere and charm to an otherwise straightforward heavy album.
There are plenty of influences that come together on Fracture, but unfortunately not in a way that is particularly groundbreaking or profound. The songs vary enough in tempo to keep your attention and manipulate your emotions, the strongest perhaps being nostalgia, inevitable when the final product sounds so much like music that saw its heyday over a decade ago. London Has Fallen has a vast catalogue and Fracture doesn’t even seem to be their latest release, so make sure you explore the rest of the music available on the band’s website.
Written by Brian Charles Clarke
*edited by Kate Erickson