Curse of the Artizan
Sometimes it seems like there’s not much to say about a record. This isn’t because it’s boring, or uninspired, but occasionally stems from a general sense of professionalism on a well executed record. That’s the scenario we’re faced with, when reviewing Artizan’s debut LP, “Curse of the Artizan”.
At first glance, this is fairly straight-lined traditional metal. Not in the sense of the classic bands, but there’s really nothing to classify it into the typical subgenres like power, death, or thrash. Perhaps you could call it melodic metal, without confusing it with the European bands that usually claim that title. The album contains consistently solid guitar work, especially in “Game within a Game” and “Rise”. The drums are a bit more distinctive, at the very least sparing the listener from the double bass pedal assault often abused in recent metal.
The vocals on the album are the biggest standout: if there’s anything that’s really memorable, it’s the voice of Tom Braden. I’ve always been a big fan of unique and memorable voices and Braden certainly has one, although he doesn’t seem willing to push it to its limits quite yet. I count myself excited for hearing that if it ever happens. Compositionally, this is a very refreshing record, the rhythms are complex enough to keep the listener engaged, but simple enough to let the melodies shine. “Game within a Game” is the most memorable track, a mid tempo, mid length number with a crushing rhythm guitar and a great vocal performance.
The melodies are good enough to distinguish each track, but on the first few listens, nothing in particular really latched itself onto my brain or was overtly catchy. What the band lacks in ground breaking melodies though, it makes up for in startling consistency. It’s important to remember that this is the first album, and there’s a really strong air of professionalism with the music. What the band sets out to accomplish, it nails right on the head. For a first effort, this is really strong, and shows a lot of potential, however as an isolated album, it lacks the “Wow factor” to break into the category of an elite release. I would however, give the album a positive review, because it’s a well above average album, knocking on the door of being very good. If this album lacks anything, it’s energy. A healthy diet of some of the high octane legends of the past could do the band unspeakable benefit and take them into the upper echelon. Give me a scream, or a grandiose guitar solo, and you have me sold. Most importantly though, I think this opens the door for a lot of possibilities for the band in the future, and they could have a bright career ahead of them, if not fully realized.
Dagg's rating: 3.75 out of 5