Artificial Brain
Artificial Brain


4.2
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
June 6th, 2022 | 474 replies


Release Date: 06/03/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Initiate, upgrade, reboot.

Since its inception in the early seventies, heavy metal has been dropping a panoply of artists and bands that have stood out from their peers; not only for their mainstream success or overly provocative look but for their artistic relevance that somehow embodies the spirit of the times, echoing the sound and soul of an era. And although the genre has mostly gone underground in recent decades, we can still find some examples that stand out from the pack for a variety of reasons. Long Island’s extreme metallers Artificial Brain belong to this narrow niche. Their dissonant hybrid approach, which combines in a sci-fi narrative the grandeur of death metal with black metal's more emotional aesthetics, mirrors the bipolar personality of a generation that embraces and fuses various styles, rejecting one-dimensional orthodoxies. Labyrinth Constellation and Infrared Horizon both reflect this aggregative attitude, being leading exponents of a progressive dissonant output that has been on the rise in recent years, revitalizing the very foundations of the genre, giving it new forms and colors. As if Gorguts teamed up with Deathspell Omega in a sci-fi soundscape, led by one of the deepest gutturals known to man. A distinctive formula, mainly based on the contrasting combination between Will Smith's powerful vocals and dissonant high-pitched riffing, where the throat takes center stage, lending a particular charisma to the music. A bit like Oliver Rae Aleron & the Archspire boys. A perfect symbiosis. A bond that, in defiance of the death metal gods, is about to end, as the band's eponymous third album will be the last with Will Smith at the mic, granting it an aura of nostalgia and farewell, also adding an extra bittersweet layer to the mix.

You guys might be thinking I'm making too much of it, because at the end of the day it's just gutturals, right? A disposable asset; easily replaceable. Well, not really. Neither the band will ever be the same without Will, nor does Artificial Brain fully assert itself in the present, being an echo of a recent past. We’re basically listening to what the collective once was, and not what it is now. And that's no minor detail to me.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that despite this setback Artificial Brain does not disappoint. It retains the same ingredients as previous releases, both conceptually and musically. Will's lyrics continue to orbit a dystopian future, exploring themes such as madness or the inexorability of nature, and musically the collective doesn't stray from the dissonant path previously set. The formula remains essentially unchanged. The subtle melodic nuances lurking in 'A Lofty Grave' and 'The Last Words of the Wobbling Sun', or the saxophone in the final segment of 'Tome of the Exiled Engineer', add more color to the composition without necessarily providing greater contrast, acting as complementary embellishments to a larger main structure. However, Artificial Brain has a slightly dirtier, heavier sound than Infrared Horizon, lending it a less sophisticated look and feel. An approach which, despite its drawbacks, grants Artificial Brain a personality of its own; a rawer character, if you will. This brings the music closer to Will's low-end gutturals while providing more body to Samuel Smith's bass. The album feels massive, like an intergalactic behemoth. The first single, 'Celestial Cyst', and 'Insects and Android Eyes' stand as the leading exponents of this interstellar third chapter, both including guest vocals from Mike Browning (Nocturnus) and Luc Lemay (Gorguts) respectively. 'A Lofty Grave', the straightforward self-titled opener, and 'Cryogenic Dreamworld' are also among the album's highlights, with the former featuring an interesting Warr guitar solo from Colin Marston (also responsible for the mix and mastering) and the latter spawning an overwhelming grind-ish section that precedes a no less interesting Anata-esque moment. As with previous releases, Artificial Brain delivers a consistent output where everything sounds cohesive and premeditated, mirroring a properly matured musical formula. And while it can't be said to be the band's best release to date, there's no denying that Long Island's cosmic dissonant machine is once again focused and well-calibrated, making it a singular and inimitable product.

Though Artificial Brain's eponymous third chapter lives up to its legacy, it exudes an aura of (premature) nostalgia that overwhelms it with unexpected emotional weight. It is the inevitable bittersweet taste of farewell; the quasi-swansong of a collective that has ceased to be. And while we wait for the machine to reboot, let's all enjoy this interstellar journey as it uncovers some of the finest cosmic soundscapes the band has ever produced.




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user ratings (272)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
0BSCURA (4.5)
A Cosmic Homecoming...

pizzamachine (3.5)
So let it be written....

GiaNXGX (3)
The brain isn’t artificial, this reviewer is not impressed...



Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2022


17874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I wish I had dropped it sooner but covid finally caught up with me. And anyone who thinks it's a common cold should be forced to watch Matrix Resurrections 24/7 for a month.

The album has a bittersweet taste to me, since it is (supposedly) the last one with Will, but it rules, obviously.

bloc
June 6th 2022


68846 Comments


Wow this album is so good. Way better than the other stuff I've heard

brainmelter
June 6th 2022


7905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think the production choices they made this time around are interesting, I don’t think they’re bad like some are saying but they made the guitar notes less discernible when the riffs get low, similarly to how the guitars are on a brutal death album (kind of not really). Don’t think it’s coincidental, as Marston has been dabbling a lot in that subgenre, hell even listen to that ping-y snare that pops it’s head in here and there on this. Labyrinth Constellation is still their best for me but this is damn good

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2022


17439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

This was about the most Insta-4 of all 4/5

‘s during 2022.

JayEnder
June 6th 2022


15278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As always, an incredible review Notrap! Glad you're feeling better too man, Covid sucks.



Album is just too good for this world m/

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2022


17874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks, JayEnder ;)

I'm feeling better but my lungs still haven't fully recovered. It does suck, hard.



I think the guys wanted the album to feel somewhat dirtier and heavier, brainmelter. It's also a way to create additional contrast with its predecessor.

0BSCURA
June 6th 2022


55 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

pos’ing first and reading later. get better soon fern!



anyway \m/ and all that shit

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2022


17874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Cheers 0BSCURA, I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts tomorrow.

Gyromania
June 6th 2022


34821 Comments


Why is your username thenotrap? What is that?

Gyromania
June 6th 2022


34821 Comments


It's weird because some of the vocals on here (particularly the background ones) are super solid, but the pig squeals fucking suck. They've always sucked any time an artist has used them and they suck here too. The music and overall production value is so damn good though that I can maybe look past it

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2022


28594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Glad to have you back Fer, hope you're feeling better.



"Cheers 0BSCURA, I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts tomorrow."



You can do that already, he reviewed the album last week ;)



"Why is your username thenotrap? What is that?"



My take has always been that he hates Trap with a passion.





Hyperion1001
Emeritus
June 7th 2022


22387 Comments


not liking these vox is poseur mentality sorry I don’t make the rules

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2022


28594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It's not vox, its the engine roar of a black hole swallowing a galaxy.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
June 7th 2022


22387 Comments


^ s tier comment

Underflow
June 7th 2022


5269 Comments


This owns

Gyromania
June 7th 2022


34821 Comments


Haha they are done sometimes to great effect, other times they just sound generic and grating to me.

Gyromania
June 7th 2022


34821 Comments


Celestial Cyst is probably my favourite thing here so far, nearly done first play

JayEnder
June 7th 2022


15278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

https://youtu.be/2KMpBsnlR-o



Anyone who hasn't seen this needs to right now.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2022


28594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Yeah that may be my favorite too, also "Cryogenic Dreamworld", those synths/keys, whatever that is, are class.

InfernalDeity
June 7th 2022


210 Comments


Celestial Cyst is just jaw dropping



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