Artificial Brain - Artificial Brain
Profound Lore Records
Death Metal
10 songs (45:23)
Release year: 2022
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat

Something like a mixture of Gorguts and Wormed trapped on a crippled satellite with a rapidly decaying orbit, New York death metalheads Artificial Brain are back for a third album after wowing with debut Labyrinth Constellation in 2014 and producing a much-admired follow-up with 2017's Infrared Horizon. Still having that air of rotted science fiction that gives their music its strange and unique atmosphere, this third album sees something of a shift as hinted at on the cover art, otherworldly weapons of war left to be reclaimed by nature. It's still as ominous and chaotic as ever, if not more so; the sheer uneasy threat posed by the subtle melodicism of, say, Celestial Cyst here is remarkable. And you can focus on the atmosphere conjured so well, or the nearly as uncanny talent of the musicians present, all with experience in other groups (bassist Samuel Smith is also guitarist in Aeviterne, for example). Vocalist Will Smith (who sadly departed the band after this recording) is obviously a huge part of their talent, having a dry, choking grunt perfect for this kind of inhuman transmission, and various guest vocalists such as Nocturnus' Mike Browning and Gorguts' Luc Lemay provide extra growls to enhance the experience.

What keeps your ears peeled back and focused isn't any individual element, as good as they are, but the experience overall. Sure, you can admire the way that the shifts of tempo and subtle backing saxophone of Tome of the Exiled Engineer, for example, act as a cleanser before the ambience and opening drum beats of Embalmed with Magma, building up with tech-death precision and leading to almost blackened levels of intensity. Yet throughout the dissonance of the guitars is perfectly judged, blurring into near-ambience behind the clattering drums and streams of vocal bile, and on initial listens it's hard to even distinguish tracks until you learn their individual distinctions. That doesn't lessen the individual impact of first single (singles! For this type of music!) Parasite Signal, which thrashes along like a demented grindcore band for three minutes, but it does serve also to underline how well that fits alongside slower, more grandiose-feeling pieces like the following Cryogenic Dreamworld, nearly twice as long. And how well the band fit each track into fitting the overall world being created here, more than just in your mind's eye!

Perhaps this aspect of Artificial Brain does rely a little more on the listener's willingness to enter their world, but there's something intriguingly distinct about giving this particular band your time and using their music to spark the imagination. Since their debut Artificial Brain have spoken to a particularly gritty vision of the future, a more refined version of the interstellar warfare Voivod imagined, and although their albums have made themselves distinct in subtle ways only a true death metal engineer could fathom, there is still a distinction. This, for instance, is both more melancholic and chaotic than the debut, suggesting a more potent and desperate urge to survive in the actions of the robotic warmongers that make up the band's cover art to present. No less effective in musical impact alone; Artificial Brain have crafted a third piece of excellence here, more than worthy of bearing their name.

Killing Songs :
Glitch Cannon, Celestial Cyst, Tome of the Exiled Engineer
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Artificial Brain that we have reviewed:
Artificial Brain - Labyrinth Constellation reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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