Review Summary: Sex.. I mean keyboards sell.
People now-a-days say that sex sells and for the most part this is true. For the metalcore scene however, it is not. This oversaturated genre relies on something else then sex to sell, more specifically, they rely on keyboards. These days I’m getting the feeling every new metalcore band and their mothers seems to be using these things. As you might have guessed the band that will get reviewed is no exception to this rule.
Meet “The Artifact
”, a band born from members of March Against Fear
and currently existing out of;
- Vocals = Nate Butcher
- Guitar/vocals = Adam Teller
- Guitar = Brandon Roberts
- Bass/Vocals = Ryan Murgatroyd
- Drums = John Toth III
- Keyboard/Programming = Colby Sixx
is a straight forward, aggressive metalcore band in the vein of bands like The Word Alive
, The Air I Breathe
and with some imagination even Hope For The Dying
. While this description sounds terribly generic or even scare some of you away, I have to tell that this band is better than most of their peers.
Having said that I’ll start with describing the vocals, as I haven’t said a word about them yet. The Artifact brings you a mix of low growl with a very guttural, gruff and even hoarse sound to them, high pitched shrieks that wouldn’t seem out of place on a death metal release and great –while obviously autotuned- clean vocals. The clean vocals while autotuned aren’t overproduced and while high pitched at times still remain to have a “certain” manly feel to them. Overall, vocally nothing is groundbreaking but neither is it album breaking.
Musically however -as to be expected- things are less interesting. Being a generic metalcore band these guys have everything you would expect from them: Chugging riffs, double kicks, blast beats, breakdowns, inaudible bass, overused keyboards and an out-of-place ballad. But, like mentioned before, generic doesn’t always equal bad. Much like The Word Alive
or The Air I Breathe
they bring the usual metalcore sound but they have some interesting ideas going on complemented with above average musical proficiency (for the genre at least), however don’t expect them to be nearly as technical as bands like Northlane
of The Human Abstract
as that will end in disappointment.
Earlier I mentioned that with some imagination they could sound like Hope for The Dying
, big words that so far haven’t been explained. What I meant with that comparison fully relates to the use of the keyboard, programming and sampling. As unlike all of their peers (think Asking Alexandria
, Enter Shikari
and The Word Alive
) The Artifact
has a much more mature and better executed use of keyboards much like Hope For The Dying
. So much that it actually helps the music: no out of place electronica segments here, but well-crafted piano interludes -that range from energetic to melancholic-, atmospheric background sounds. Or in short: it actually enhances the music and isn’t there for the “coolness” factor.
Every coin has two sides however and since we’ve seen the good side already, it’s on to the bad one. Which can pretty much be explained in a few words; filler, breakdowns, uninspired song writing and a horrible final track.
While the breakdowns, uninspired songwriting and lots of filler with few stand-out tracks (most notably “Severance”) are nothing new to the genre I am going to stand still with the final track called “Dreamer”. While I don’t mind an album ending with a ballad I do mind it if it actually hurts the experience. While it starts alright with a soft piano it actually never goes anywhere and just keeps repeating itself without adding any new elements to the song except for vocals. And that’s when it goes wrong, I have no idea what they did but unlike the rest of the album the vocals on dreamer are extremely overproduced and I doubt anyone will make it through the song without cringing.
It’s sad they decided to end the album the way they did as this really showed some potential. For a first release this is pretty good, while not original at all, the execution is better than 90% of its peers and some songs are really good. If you’re a fan of The Word Alive
, Asking Alexandria
or anything alike, pick this up, as it’s better than anything they’ve produced so far. If you’re not a fan of this kind of music, stay away from it, as this band will do nothing to change that. 2.5/5
- Above average musical proficiency (for the genre);
- Good use of vocals;
- Creative use of keyboards.
- The final track called “Dreamer”;
- To much filler and lower quality songs.
- Color (Pt. 2)