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Hypnotic - 90%

Arjunthebeast, December 7th, 2012

A new project featuring members of Revocation (who are getting pretty big as of recently), Buckshot Facelift and the defunct Cyanide Breed, New York’s Artificial Brain is an excellent continuation of the ideas and methods of those groups. Artificial Brain released their first official demo recording this past year (which includes ‘Lightwaves Birthing Ages’, also released as a single), which includes three tracks of pulverizing and entrancing death metal.

Of course, I would not be writing about the recording if it did not have such qualities.

This stuff continues my fascination with combinations of melodicism and outright violence. When the words 'melodic' and 'metal' are placed within close proximity, a red flag might go up in a potential listeners mind. After all, there are a lot of bands within that genre that would barely qualify as hard rock! On the other side of the spectrum, much modern technical death metal also uses melody, but at the cost of brute force and fury. Artificial Brain succeeds in trumping these obstacles with grace and dexterity. And that is a good thing.

As a unit, the musicians seem to be well integrated with one another, and give each other space to do their respective duties. That may be the somewhat quiet production talking, but it makes for a non-intrusive movement in and out of the ears. The vocals are really cool, and alternate between deep gurgling and powerviolence like screeching, and just about everyone lends their cords for the slaughter. They are used to great effect throughout the recording and reflect an intent for anti-monotony. Lead guitarist Dan Gargiulo is apparently quite the virtuoso, but he remains restrained for most of the recording, only occasionally showing a bit of Jon Levasseur type soling (like on ‘Lightwaves’...another good thing) on top of the chords and dissonant tremolos. Drummer Keith Abrami also opts for a more melodic and less blast oriented (but I love blasts!) style, which is best summarized by his excellent performance on ‘Spacid.’ That track is a rollicking rollride of tumbling beats that would be excellent for the pit.

But getting back to the theme of melody, the demo closer ‘Lightwaves Birthing Ages’ treats us to such a moment (about halfway through), where the slithering speed of the guitars fade into a hypnotic metronome of echoing guitar takes us to a place promised in our dreams. When the final strokes of the clock end, the listener is in such a dream (it reminds me of Adramelech’s ‘Revived’ and its own outro). It is also the most diverse of the bunch because of this extended moment of droning. But that is not to put down the first half; within the first two minuets the group moves through a great deal of varied territory with great skill. The final track is of a higher quality than the first two in this respect, and does place a bit of a damper on the collection as a whole because it simply is too good (it is the single after all).

The biggest problem here is that there is not more, and thus I have to deal with the great hardship of restarting it when the trio have run their course. And remember, this is only a demo! Imagine what might come next?

Originally published for examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/review/mandatory-download-artificial-brain-s-2011-demo