In mid-2018, Fragile State released their debut EP “Promo 2018.” The album was an amalgamation of Midwestern emo, easy core, and some good ol’ fashioned thrash punk. It sounded like something Rise or Die Trying-era Four Year Strong would have released, sans synth. As one of my favorite releases of 2018, I was concerned to hear that the band would be changing up their sound. I didn’t know what to expect from a band I considered to be one of the most promising up and coming acts from Ohio. However, those feelings have since been assuaged after listening through “The Winter Tape.” The duo has traded blistering riffs and chaotic drums for a darker sound that provides a fresh take on early aughts neo-punk. The songs showcase Nate’s singing substantially more than their prior release, which puts a well-deserved emphasis on some truly fantastic lyrics. While the band has switched things up, there’s still some nice tempo changes and dirty vocals to sate the appetites of “Promo 2018” fans. Sonically, this album would fit in well on a playlist alongside Sum 41’s “Chuck” or early Balance and Composure. It’s a must-listen. If this is a preview of what’s to come from Fragile State, I see some very big things for them on the horizon.