Artension - New Discovery
Frontiers Records
Progressive Melodic Hard Rock / Metal
11 songs (50'24)
Release year: 2003
Artension, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Marty
This is the new release by this veteran progressive rock outfit. Artension is still somewhat of a project band in that all the members are also involved with other bands/projects as well. The band still consists of keyboard wizard Vitalij Kuprij, vocalist John West (currently with Royal Hunt), bassist Kevin Chown, guitarist Roger Staffelbach and Mike Terrana (Rage) on drums. New Discovery seems a fitting title for this latest offering by the band. Most of the lack luster qualities to some of their songs, the muddy production and an overall uninteresting and uninspiring musical style that I thought plagued their last release, Sacred Pathways has all but disappeared in favor of a new, much more melodic, vocally rich and speedy progressive sound. The songwriting is much improved as is the overall production and song arrangements. The band has adopted a more melodic sound and kept the technical flash to a minimum this time. There's still enough instrumental passages to satisfy the hardcore prog fans out there, but I think with the newer, more accessible sound, they may attract fans of melodic metal as well.

John West's voice sounds more like Steve Perry during the glory days of Journey than Steve Perry himself these days. He has a similar range and vocal style and that aspect gives the band a very Journey -like sound. Rich layered vocal melodies and multiple vocal tracks really add a lot more emotion and warmth to the band's music, something that's was missing on their last release. There's even a few moments where we hear Uriah Heep style vocal harmonies and with the Hammond organ on a few tracks, it conjures up the ghosts of Uriah Heep past!

The album opens with the title track, New Discovery which has a very catchy chorus and is a very good melodic metal track. Things really change about 4 minutes in where we are treated to a wild and fast keyboard, drums and guitar frenzy. Remember My Name is a great, speedy little number with some great fast guitar riffing and double bass drumming. This track really has the classic Rainbow, Yngwie Marching Out, Trilogy type of melodic sound and is an album highlight. Innocence Lost is another great melodic song with a very catchy vocal style and chorus and features lots of prog style keyboard passages. The band gets to show off a bit on the instrumental track, Symphobic Expedition which features some very fast keyboard scale runs, thematic riffing and some very impressive lead guitar and piano solo trade-offs. It's a cool song and also features a more symphonic sound than the rest of the album. The obligatory power ballad can be found with the track, Endless Days. It features some nice acoustic guitar work, a great melodies and an interesting instrumental interlude mid-song. This song is the first single to be released from the album. Story Teller, another stand-out track, features lots of fast double bass drumming with speedy guitar riffs and keyboards and has a more "epic" feel to it. As a bonus, the band includes the radio edit for Endless Days which is pretty much a waste if you ask me. Without that, the album would be only about 45 minutes, fairly short for albums in this day and age.

I see major improvements with this band on this album compared to Sacred Pathways. All the complaints/criticisms I had with that album are simply not an issue this time (maybe they read my review!!). Everything that I found fault with has been improved upon. This album has lots of very catchy and memorable songs that will satisfy both Prog-Metal fans and fans of good melodic metal. They still could use a little more spark and passion to their music but overall, a vast improvement from Sacred Pathways. It's too bad that the band members didn't have more time to put into this band. I think that may be the one thing that's preventing them from achieving their full potential. This is a very enjoyable album to listen to, however, with the talent that these guys have collectively, I still think that they can do even better than what's on this release. If you like a lighter melodic metal style (i.e. Journey style) with some speedy Power Metal elements and lots of guitar and keyboard soloing, all complimented by great vocals, check these guys out, I think you'll like it!!

Killing Songs :
New Discovery, Remember My Name, Innocence Lost and Storyteller
Marty quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Artension that we have reviewed:
Artension - Sacred Pathways reviewed by Marty and quoted 75 / 100
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