Review Summary: Groundbreaking avant-garde music
When thinking about music, we often are blinded by our preconceptions when trying to understand musical anomalies. We judge them based on what we are told is good and just in the world of traditional music and theory, what sounds like things we've heard and enjoyed before, and what others won't demonize us for liking. Generally these insecurities exist in the average listener, to which Artery Eruption would probably seem like noise. How interesting it is that when layers of sound coalesce in a way that is unknown to us, we brush it off because it's nuance isn't immediately revealed like that of a Bruno Mars song. Now many people misunderstand Artery Eruption and think they are either misogynistic, sadistic, psychopathic, or just plain unserious music that is meant to somehow demean or subvert the standards of metal (this seems to be the general consensus). I'm here to make the case that this album is a watershed moment for metal and extreme music in general, and a masterpiece of avant-garde songwriting.
Firstly, the most inaccessible part of the music is arguably the name, cover art (which is one of my favorite album covers, the style is insane), and the nonsensical samples that start each song. Oh yeah, that and the fact that the only thing relating this to any kind of traditional slam or brutal death metal is the guitar tone, and the existence of drums/vocals. The way in which these instruments are played however is totally bizarre and contradictory to many of the defining aspects of metal, such as the assumed tight playing, song structure, and existence of riffs. This album has far more in common with free jazz musicians like John Coltrane and early Don Cherry or Peter Brötzmann. The drums are free form, often sounding like they're falling down a staircase in fast motion, while the sputter out distortion that occasionally solidifies in what one could consider an actual riff, which allows the guitar to take on a jazz feel in it's inability to make up it's mind. The vocals reach subhuman depths rarely reached in any of the most brutal forms of metal. They are so low and expressive that their role is very horn-like, totally acting as an brass or wind instrument rather than human vocal chords. They gurgle and fester through the chaotic music like a subterranean snake travelling through a river of decaying plasma.
The production on this adds a great deal, as it is simply a stroke of one-of-a-kind genius. It is produced like no other album I've ever heard and am likely to ever hear. The drums pop along through in a beyond human manner with very little bass and plenty of treble, while the guitars and vox handle most of the more bass-laden production aspects. Overall it sounds ends up like an interesting void of atmosphere that is very dreamlike in its strangeness and complexity.
I very much love this album, but it took me a bit of time because at first the samples didn't sit well with me. Now I see them as just another aspect of the uncompromising vision that Artery Eruption had in mind for this album. In regards to the subject matter, the band themselves said the album was a release focused on questioning the moral/ ethical concerns of how abortion is handled in modern society. I give them credit for making such odd but powerful commentary on such a divisive issue, and doing so with an artistic flair and attention to detail that had never been explored before. From my own personal experience jamming this album many times, I view this album as a masterpiece and a modern example of groundbreaking avant-garde music.