No matter how far the boundaries of metal are pushed, it always seems like there is a band able to come up with something new. One would think it all has been done at this point, but New York’s Artificial Brain is proving once again that there are still unique ways to meld extreme metal. Their second album, “Infrared Horizon”, was just recently released, and combines technical death metal with both brutal death metal and melodic black metal for an epic, atmospheric journey through time and space.
At its core, “Infrared Horizon” is certainly a tech-death album. It’s got the sci-fi themes (how awesome is the alien on the cover?) and mind-bending musicianship down perfectly. Where Artificial Brain differs from their peers is how they incorporate other sounds. The vocals, while occasionally varied, spend a lot of time in the brutal death metal domain. The most common approach is a bubbly gurgling that makes deciphering a single word on this release impossible. Of course, if we could understand anything going on throughout the album, it would certainly take away from the ethereal themes. There are also higher shrieks, but these often take a backseat to the deeper vocals.
The biggest differentiating factor for Artificial Brain is how they utilize extremely dissonant melodies in conjunction with more typical death metal riffs. These moments evoke memories of bands like Dissection, Sacramentum, and others. “Static Shattering” has undoubtedly the most potent examples, but every single track unleashes these odd, unsettling riffs. They are especially effective atop rolling double kicks, and wandering bass lines, both of which are prominent all throughout “Infrared Horizon”. In addition, there is also an absurd amount of blast beats, but they have more of a black metal feel than a death metal one. In other words, they’re used to enhance the otherworldly atmosphere, rather than to simply pound away with the fastest drum beat possible.
“Infrared Horizon” doesn’t really have any faults. It is perhaps a bit long for my short attention span, but certainly nothing too egregious. The band’s overall sound is unique enough to remain refreshing for this length of time, and the songs themselves also have enough variety to stay interesting. There might not be a lot of individual highlights, or even memorable moments, but this record is entirely about atmosphere, and it succeeds in conjuring one of the most twisted, disturbing feelings of any metal record in recent years.
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All of it
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott