Review Summary: Apocalyptic
Belgium isn't particularly known for it's metal scene. Aside from a few acts, they're not exactly a country you associate technical death metal with. Maybe that's a big reason why The end of all Reason's brilliant debut album went by almost totally unnoticed.
Imagine witnessing the birth of all existence and living through it all, just to be around when everything falls. That is "Artifacts". Birth, existence, infinity, future, and death, all wrapped up in a wonderful concept album. The instrumental performance is of the highest caliber, while maintaining a very futuristic, spacey atmosphere. Guitars are always intact, producing a great flow to every song without ever sounding forced. Riffs are furious and technical as expected, with a dose of melody thrown in at the most suitable spots. Drums do a wonderful job backing up the guitar playing as well, creating intensity and giving breathing room when needed.
What's most impressive about Artifacts though is the high attention to detail. Whether it being riffs manifasting in wonderful ideas, clever usage of meassures, added keyboards, great cymbal work, or a rhythm being played in a certain
way, something creative is always expressed, making the songs sound very fresh and natural. Even though the sound on Artifacts certainly has its roots in modern technical death metal, one can't help but notice how much it also stays true to it's old death metal foundation. The members always have something up their sleeve, yet remaining sincere to its mood, which mainly can be seen in the 13 minute epic "Time Odyssey", where every single member gets to show the best sides of the album.
Overall we have a really engaging and epic journey to be found here. Few bands could create such a technical and intense record while remaining so geniune to its atmosphere. Therefore Artifacts is a real success and one of the most overlooked metal albums of this decade.