Review Summary: Art By Numbers is melodic prog that is very appealing to the average ear!
There was a world where the biggest thing in rock was a boy band called One Direction, rock had become dull and uninteresting. Then something called Art ByNumbers came along. Their sound combines insane musicianship, with catchy highly listenable tunes. The guitar work is excellent, and has all sorts of The Human Abstract-type shreddiness. The bass work is thudding and features some heavy riffs. Meanwhile the drumming shows off some of the freshest licks of the year and some intense beats. The synths are highly melodic and add a Rush type feel to several of the songs. Last of all, the vocals are wonderful, and are a big part of the attractive sound of the band. Together they form a sound that could define a movement.
The guitars form the basis of the music, from the rhythms to the melodies, this music is controlled by the guitar work. The djenty rhythms are very appealing and have familiar seeming melodies that will stay attractive to the average listener. Sweepy guitar solos combine with pulsating riffs to create a vibrant and very beautiful sound that never fails to please. Art by Numbers is one of the few bands that can make highly technical music that doesn't only appeal to musicians! With an overall sense of rock, this band takes djent to a different point, a point that makes for much catchier and more fun kind of djent, perhaps the djent of the future.
The bass work on this record is also rather djenty. With thudding bass lines that keep the guitars in check the bassist really compliments the swirling drum rhythms. The bass lines are a big part of what keeps this band's energy level up, while staying on the less brutal side of the spectrum. There is a fine balance, and the bassist nails it. The drum work is very typical of the genre, with crazy rhythms that bring the music to a higher level, they allow for some unique progressions. I particularly like the drumming on the track Black Water Rush, which shows the full rhythm mastery of ABN's man on the skins. The drums are probably the most djenty part of the music and give the songs a very strong root for their sound.
The synth work is fantastic and forms a bridge between traditional prog and djent. It adds a unique flavor that can not be found in most djent bands. The music suddenly becomes atmospheric and has a whole new level of melody in it. The sound is more filled out and suddenly a bit more interesting. With the synths on this record ABN gets to keep their djent roots while adding in a Dream Theater type prog feel. To conclude, ABN's synthesizer work is brilliant and helps to make the band stand above it's peers.
Vocally ABN is very similar to groups like Mars Volta. There are highly melodic vocals that have a magic of their own. One excellent example of vocal beauty is on the track Venice is Sinking, where the vocals are layered to create some gorgeous passages, particularly in the bridge. Hearing this type of layered chorus is a wonderful experience. Without the vocals ABN is good, but with them, they band's sound become beautiful, yet powerful, in other words they become excellent. Lyrically this group is pretty far out, with couplets like “We are nothing but relegated men/my forces that follow me find glory in the wind”. The lyrics seem to be pretty standard of prog groups, they are wonderfully deep, but on first listen seem rather abstract. Overall though, ABN offers up an amazing vocal experience that you will not soon forget.
In conclusion, Art By Numbers is one of the best up and coming groups out there. With a sound that is vast and powerful they will not fail to impress any prog snob and could very easily appeal to a normal music fan. The musicianship is stellar, with great performances from the whole group. The combination of sounds, from rock to classical to jazz to djent is also great and it helps to keep the music fresh too. To finish, Art By Numbers is melodic, musical and beautiful and will bring you into a whole new world of sound!