Artas: Riotology

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Artas: Riotology
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Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Napalm Records
February 8th, 2011
Release length: 1:07:40
Myspace
Formed in 2006, Austrian Death and Thrash Metal act Artas return with Riotology, the follow-up to their debut full-length album, The Healing. With a more Melodic Death Metal approach then solid Death Metal, the band is considered a prime example of what many call “Modern Metal”, having a heavy, yet catchy sound that is sleek with a glossy finish. Of course, this approad didn’t win over the hearts of many critics for their debut, and given the way Metal fans and critics felt with their debut, this follow-up has a good chance of falling into the same fate. Does Riotology have what it takes to be more then just a flash in the Metal pan?

Artas once again bring the sleek and stylish Metal sound back for this release, have enough distortion to give the impression of machinery more then human band members, though this reflects a general impression and atmosphere, not the band’s performance itself. The performance on the album varies greatly. Riotology has a very strong Thrash foundation, but seems to leave behind any genuine Death Metal approaches in favor of a strong, more commercial Melodic death Metal sound one might expect from some of today’s Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore hybrid acts like Deadsoil or The Autumn Offering. This really shines through on the slower paced “The Suffering of John Doe”, which features rhaspy harmonized vocals similar to the latter of those two albums. While not a bad song, this is just another track that seems to follow an altered pattern that many bands have made famous, such as All That Remains of having all but the chorus screamed, or in this case a much harsher vocal approach that sometimes bridges into gutterals, then a clean sung chorus which remains intact on this effort. Of course, this track features another typical element of the Melodic Death/Metalcore hybrids, which is the slow breakdown that feels forced, which leads to a bridge that is much lighter then anything else with a great emphasis on the clean singing vocals, all of which sounds very hollow and absolutely pointless to even have on the song considering that it was fluid and not a bad song up to that point.

While all the songs before “The Suffering of John Doe” are actually enjoyable, aside the instrumental track “A Journey Begins” which doesn’t do much but act as an introduction of “Fortress of No Hope” thanks to the song not really setting any atmosphere and bleeding into the next track, that’s the song where the album starts to go downhill fast. “Rassenhass” is a decent track, but nothing too stand out or impressive, mostly being a generic sounding song that sounds like it even has a random Rap moment in it. Aside that, it just honestly feels like the song will never die, and when it starts to it goes into a grouping of noises that come off as high pitched distortion of guitar chords that bleed into “O5” (not really sure why they needed tow songs by the name of “O5”) which is yet another generic track that is more an interlude then anything, again focusing on being yourself basically. Of course, for some reason there are two tracks on here with the “O5” name, and both feel as pointless, even for interlude tracks, though the second seems to fit the album a little more with the sounds of chains and police sirens.

“The Grin Behind the Mirror” is when things will start to pick up again, but only for a short amount of time. The song feels a little more controlled and restrained then the following track, but the way the band manages to seemlessly transfer between it and “Gipfelsturmer” is impressive, and it all winds up working well together, though “Gipfelsturmer” is a more enjoyable track due to it being stronger and a little heavier with the only real generic commercial melodic section, again, being the chorus. This track also bleeds into “Le Saboteur”, which teases the listener with some impressive Death Metal intensity before falling into a lighter Thrash/Groove approach that sounds like everything else you’ve already heard on this album. If this isn’t the point where you give up, then chances are good the slower ballad-sounding “Ashes of Failure” will do you in, as the vocals belt out a laughable “emotional” clean singign performance before hammering back into a Death Metal sound, and just varying between those two elements, as well as sheer boredom.

Riotology isn’t really an awful album like some may have you believe or predict from past reviews. The only faults this album genuinely has are that some of the material just sounds generic, it follows a pattern to the performance of many tracks, and some of the filler interludes on the release don’t really serve a purpose. Artas does manage to pull in some good music that many who aren’t into the typical intensity of Thrash and Death Metal might appreciate more, looking for a lighter, cleaner sound, or even those newer to the Metal scene who just don’t really know any better. The repetition of this release is simply jarring, and it’s hard to sit through many of these songs, especially when a good chunk of them seem to sound very similar, leading one to ask why the band recorded over an hour of material for this release when thirty minutes would have been easier to swallow for audiences, and also left the band enough to issue on another release later down the line once this one has settled. However you look at it, Artas shows some talent on here, but they also show they don’t want to recognize it, making Riotology, forgive the pun but it has to be said, a metal course worth passing up.

01. A Journey Begins… – 0:59
02. Fortress of No Hope – 5:48
03. The Day the Books Will Burn Again – 4:08
04. The Suffering of John Doe – 5:49
05. Rassenhass – 5:29
06. O5 – 2:35
07. No Pasaran – 5:05
08. The Grin Behind the Mirror – 3:44
09. Gipfelstürmer – 4:32
10. Le Saboteur – 4:35
11. Mediafada – 4:46
12. O5 – 1:36
13. Ashes of Failure – 5:29
14. Between Poets and Murderers – 5:55
15. A Martyr’s Dawn – 5:10
16. …Surrounded by Darlmess We Are Able to See the Scars – 2:00
Overall Score: 5.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.