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Too much focus on the plays. - 50%

Tobbe L, June 23rd, 2013

Like many progressive metallers, Artlantica focus immensely on how it should and ought to be, which often conflicts with the songs' natural and smooth greatness. It's technical and progressive just above the point where the songs' outcomes lack a piece of stability and it feels a bit constructed just for the sake of it when they twist themselves into sudden breaks. On the contrary, I enjoy many parts of this release as it's melodic and intense as well.

The quintet's debut album is also rather speedy without significant heaviness to back things up. It's energetic, yet lacking a bit of power to hit hard. With their near-constant twisting and turning to infinity, it also shows a huge variation in each song and therefore this release hardly leaves you time to rest or time for breathers, except for the ballad Ode To My Angel, that is. The last song, Nightmare Life, also differs slightly from the rest with its more straightforward approach, emotional verses, and its catchier appearance, and to me it qualifies as the album's best track.

The core of guitarist, songwriter, and producer Staffelbach, vocalist West, and keyboarder Mistheria are backed up by renowned bass player Steve DiGiorgio and likewise by drummer Dani Löble, and this release also features special guest appearances by none other than drummer John Macaluso and well-known guitarist Chris Caffrey to complete the line-up.

Many of the plays are awesome and much of this album is played with great skills. The way I see it though, skills aren't equal to an album's total greatness. I enjoy the way they play their parts, but as a whole I believe a major part of people listening to any kind of metal will dismiss this to a certain degree, hence it's not captivating enough with its frequent virtuosity and melodic changes.

Originally written for www.metalcovenant.com