HUGO FLORIMOND (FRACTAL UNIVERS): “For The First Time, We Did Everything At Home, And I Think It Helped Us To Perform Freely Without Any Pressure”

Fractal Universe - The Impassable Horizon

Ever wonder what a killer Progressive Metal band from France that incorporates killer riffs as well as some saxophone in the mix would sound like? Look no further then Fractal Universe. Fractal Universe are set to release their third studio album The Impassable Horizon June 25th via Metal Blade Records. The bands guitarist Hugo Florimond took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s upcoming album, utilizing Twitch during lockdown, the band’s last tour with Obscura, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Fractal Universe’s new album, The Impassable Horizon, is set to be released June 25th via Metal Blade Records – what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Hugo Florimond: From our first release Boundaries of Reality to our last album Rhizomes of Insanity, the music evolved from a pretty raw prog/tech death to a more mature, catchy and accessible sound, while keeping high musical requirements in songwriting. The Impassable Horizon is the natural result of this evolution. You can expect more diversity in Vince’s singing, more dual guitar solos, and a slightly more melancholy vibe compared to Rhizomes. You can expect more sax too!

MER: How was the writing and recording process, with this being the band’s third full-length album?

Hugo: Most of the writing is done by singer/guitar player Vince Wilquin. He works alone on demos, and when the songs take a good shape he sends the demo to us with tabs, and then we can still discuss some things between us before learning it and practicing it in the rehearsal room. The drums were recorded at Clément’s own professional studio Boundless Productions, and everything else was tracked in the other members’ home studios. So for the first time, we did everything at home, and I think it helped us to perform freely without any pressure. It was once again mixed and mastered by our long time producer Flavien Morel.

MER: The band recently released a video for the single “A Clockwork Expectation” – what kind have feedback have you received?

Hugo: It’s the first single we released for The Impassable Horizon. I think it was highly anticipated, especially among our most loyal and beloved fans of course, but in the progressive/tech death spheres as well. The feedback was amazing, I don’t think we even had a negative comment during the first couple of days. People especially liked the addition of the saxophone, and the overall atmosphere of the song. We shot the video in the largest equipped natural cave in France, we’re very proud of the result, it has reached 10K views the first day on YouTube!

MER: With more shows and tours starting to reappear, are you hoping for the band to play live this year?

Hugo: As we speak, the venues in France are about to open again and yes, after 15 month without performing a single show, we might hit the stage again this summer!

MER: How have you and the band been able to stay busy during the pandemic?

Hugo: Right after the first lockdown in March 2020, we began our activity on Twitch. Several times a week, we perform a setlist on our instrument, we even did some full-band live streams in the rehearsal room. It’s a great way to keep in touch with our fans and stay in shape for playing shows! Besides, we worked a lot on the new album during the lockdown. We also had the chance to work on the live show on stage thanks to our local venues Le Gueulard+ & Le Moloco, and we were honored to receive some advice from Christian Andreu (Gojira), so we can say we were quite busy!

MER: Out of the three full-length albums, which one is the one you would recommend to a new fan and why?

Hugo: It’s a bit hard to tell, I would say Rhizomes of Insanity is a good start, as it contains a ton of catchy choruses and groovy riffs. The Impassable Horizon takes it a step further though, with more layers and atmospheres while keeping the signature catchiness from the previous releases so a new fan can definitely enjoy it a lot!

MER: With a couple months into 2021, are there any new releases that have caught your attention?

Hugo: The last huge bomb that dropped in the Metal world recently (especially in France), is obviously Gojira’s Fortitude! A very diverse album, I love the way they manage to renew their sound while remaining true to themselves. On a less mainstream scale, I’m definitely looking forward to Alluvial’s Sarcoma, to be released at the end of May, the singles they’ve put out are unbelievable.

MER: What are your hopes for the band within the next couple of years?

Hugo: We hope for the world to get better, so we can tour as much as possible to bring The Impassable Horizon to the whole world and meet our old and new fans! Our third album is not out, yet the fourth one is already in the works, as some new songs are currently being written. If we keep releasing one album every two years, we can expect this one to drop in a couple of years.

MER: What would be your ideal tour for Fractal Universe? (with dream headliner/support bands)

Hugo: We already had the pleasure and honor to open for Obscura last year, it was already a dream come true! We can still dream, we would love to open for legends such as Gojira & Opeth. We’re also huge fans of the whole modern Prog scene, touring with bands such as Leprous, The Devin Townsend Project, Haken, Caligula’s Horse would be amazing.

MER: Thanks for your time and stay safe and healthy!

Hugo: Thanks a lot for your interest in the band, stay safe!


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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