Control Denied: The Fragile Art of Existence (1999)

Released in 1999, Control Denied’s “The Fragile Art of Existence” marked a significant departure for Chuck Schuldiner, the renowned frontman of Death. This progressive metal album features intricate instrumentation, clean vocals by Tim Aymar, and lyrics that delve into philosophical and existential themes. As the band’s sole studio release due to Schuldiner’s untimely passing, the album holds a unique place in heavy metal history.

Track Listing

  1. Consumed
  2. Breaking the Broken
  3. Expect the Unexpected
  4. What If…?
  5. When the Link Becomes Missing
  6. Believe
  7. Cut Down
  8. The Fragile Art of Existence

Length: 50:48


Progressive metal, power metal

Release Date

May 13th, 1999

Record Label

Nuclear Blast

The Lineup for the Album

  • Chuck Schuldiner: guitars
  • Tim Aymar: vocals
  • Shannon Hamm: guitars
  • Steve DiGiorgio: bass
  • Richard Christy: drums

Recording Studio

Morrisound Recording (Tampa, Florida)

Produced by

Jim Morris and Chuck Schuldiner

Album Themes/Concept

The fragility of life: The album questions our place in the universe and the transient nature of our existence.

The search for truth and meaning: Lyrics encourage critical thinking and challenge listeners to question societal norms and beliefs.

The consequences of our actions: The album touches upon the impact of human behavior on the environment and the importance of personal responsibility.

Hope and perseverance: Despite the often-dark themes, the lyrics offer a glimmer of hope and emphasize the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Album Mood

Intense and powerful: The music is a rollercoaster of emotions, shifting from soaring melodies to powerful riffs and introspective moments.

Dynamic and varied: The album’s soundscapes range from triumphant and uplifting to melancholic and introspective.

Powerful vocals and intricate guitars: Tim Aymar’s passionate vocals and Chuck Schuldiner’s masterful guitar work are the driving forces behind the album’s emotional impact.

Challenging and rewarding: “The Fragile Art of Existence” is a complex and emotionally engaging album that demands your attention and rewards repeated listens.

Album Trivia

Chuck Schuldiner’s Side Project: This album was the only full-length studio release by Control Denied, a side project of Chuck Schuldiner, the legendary frontman of Death. Schuldiner wanted to explore a different musical direction with Control Denied, incorporating more progressive and melodic elements into his music.

Technical and Musical Proficiency: The album is known for its technical prowess, featuring complex compositions typical of Schuldiner’s work but presented with a different vocal style. The lineup included notable musicians such as Steve DiGiorgio on bass and Richard Christy on drums, both of whom contributed to the album’s intricate sound.

Significant Release and Reissues: Originally released in 1999 through Nuclear Blast, the album saw multiple reissues, including a notable one in 2010 by Relapse Records. This reissue included a wealth of bonus material such as unreleased demo tracks, enhancing its collectibility and offering fans deeper insights into the album’s creation​.

Schuldiner’s Final Work: His passing marked the end of an era for his innovative contributions to metal music.

Memorial Release: Tragically, this album was Chuck Schuldiner’s last studio work. Released shortly before his untimely death in 2001, this album marks a poignant end to his prolific musical career, encapsulating his desire to push creative boundaries beyond the death metal for which he was famed.

Listen or Pass

This album might be for you if you…

  • Crave Progressive Metal: If you’re a fan of intricate song structures, unexpected time signature changes, and a blend of technicality and melody, this album will hit the spot. It pushes the boundaries of traditional metal, incorporating elements of progressive rock and jazz fusion.
  • Admire Chuck Schuldiner’s Legacy: As the mastermind behind Death, Chuck Schuldiner is a metal legend. If you’re curious about his exploration of a different musical style, this album offers a unique glimpse into his versatility and creativity.
  • Enjoy Powerful Vocals and Soaring Melodies: Tim Aymar’s vocal performance is a highlight of the album. His soaring range and emotive delivery add a dramatic and melodic dimension to the music, complementing the heavy instrumentation perfectly.
  • Appreciate Thought-Provoking Lyrics: If you’re looking for more than just headbanging riffs, the lyrics on this album will resonate with you. They delve into complex themes like the fragility of life, the search for truth, and the consequences of our actions.

You might want to pass this one if you…

  • Prefer Raw and Aggressive Metal: While the album has its heavy moments, it’s not a pure aggression fest. If you’re looking for unrelenting brutality and blast beats, you might not find it here.
  • Dislike Clean Vocals: Tim Aymar’s vocals are primarily clean, although he does incorporate some grit and raspiness at times. If you’re strictly a fan of harsh vocals, this might not be your cup of tea.
  • Want Straightforward Song Structures: The songs on this album are complex and multi-layered, with frequent tempo changes and intricate arrangements. If you prefer simple, verse-chorus structures, you might find this album a bit challenging.
  • Aren’t Interested in Progressive Elements: This album is firmly rooted in the progressive metal genre. If you’re not a fan of experimentation and unconventional song structures, you might not fully appreciate its nuances.

Release Date

May 13, 1999