Compos Mentis - _Fragments of a Withered Dream_ (Lost Disciple, 2003) by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Picking up from where they had left with their surprisingly good independently released debut EP _Quadrology of Sorrow_, Compos Mentis are unlikely to disappoint anyone who liked that EP with _Fragments of a Withered Dream_. Now signed to Lost Disciple and deservedly releasing a full-length album, these Danes have looked to develop their sound, build upon the foundations they had laid down with their EP, and come out with something that would begin to establish their name in the scene. Whether this particular release will achieve that remains to be seen, but it certainly does have a good deal of merit and promise for the future. Part Swedish melodic death, part blackened symphonic metal, Compos Mentis continue to balance the amount of melody in their sound with the anguished vocals to good effect. The guitar and keyboard interplay remains effective, busy enough if not overly complex, with atmospheric breaks and enough variation in pace and type of riffs to keep things interesting throughout. Compos Mentis manage to have a rather accessible sound without coming across as trendy or just ear candy. Much like Omnium Gatherum (another promising young band), their music has a good balance of melody and metallic edge, with a healthy dose of energy and talent on top to ensure a good final result. _Fragments of a Withered Dream_ is unlikely to be the crowning achievement of Compos Mentis' career, as they will surely be awarded plenty of opportunities to continue growing musically in the future; nevertheless, it is both a promising and worthwhile album in its own right.