Review Summary: One day, I may find myself heralding a new front-runner in progressive music…
Progressive metal for the most part has always been hit or miss in the listening community, especially where “djent” is concerned. Percussive (often muted) riffing, endless guitar noodling (read: wankery) and a room for just about any combination of screamed vs. clean vocal phrasings allow for equal measures of fandom and those running the complete opposite direction. Bands like Meshuggah who ushered in a new level of extreme metal gave way to more melodic outputs such as Monuments or Periphery and from there this ‘new’ style blew out into epic proportions, highlighting metal’s ability to adapt to change in a positive manner. However, as successful as these bands are, there are always those who do little to improve djent’s image.
Artificial Construct is one of those new coming bands who failed to see the same standards set by the forerunners of the djent scene and while their debut full-length may sound like the conventional release of any up and coming progressive metal band there’s some finer details that prevent Lurker
from being anything other than a forgettable record in 2018. Optimistically, Artificial Construct has a lot of room to grow as a band. Obviously, the only way to go is up.
From a purely instrumental aspect it’s pretty clear these guys can string a riff or two together, culminating in some purely heavy grooves, but the most noticeable drawback to this thirty-four minute release is the sub-par clean vocals. Grating, forced cleans contrast with the technical ability, and competent harsh growls. It becomes hard to mask just how much better these tracks, and album could have been received with a well-rehearsed, natural singer behind the microphone. Sadly, its unlikely listeners will hear any promising cleans without a shake up to this two-piece progressive metal act, even with the guest inclusions from Logan Adams (Eternal Void), Andrew Patterson (Lunaform) and Andrew Zink (BROJOB) Lurker
doesn’t push past the simple expectations, preferring to ride the hype train to nowhere.
Other issues arise throughout the record. The album’s mixings is a notable problem showcasing a “too” bottom heavy record. The drums dominate the mix, hiding the dissonant ringing notes that would better improve a record’s atmosphere, adding to the overall tone of Artificial Construct’s 2018 release. Instead, the listener is bludgeoned with the band’s more percussive elements allowing little else to help hide woeful clean vocals.
Overall, it’s not a huge wonder why this album isn’t getting a lot of traction in its early release stages. With eight tracks, Lurker
still manages to outlive a welcome listen. Culminating in a thirty-four minutes, there are few highlights to bring any new fans to the Artificial Construct camp. Lurker
’s “highlights” rely on the album’s guest appearances… as fleeting and uneventful as they are. One day, I may find myself heralding a new front-runner in progressive music… but for now I think it’s a long shot that I’ll be even mentioning Artificial Construct in the near future.