Review – Artificial Brain: Infrared Horizon

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  • Bio: "NY based death metal band ARTIFICIAL BRAIN was conceived in 2011 by REVOCATION guitarist Dan Gargiulo and ex-Biolich vocalist Will Smith (Biolich, coincidentally being the former band where several members would end up forming CASTEVET upon Biolich’s break-up)." - Press release
  • Label: Profound Lore Records
  • Release Date: April 21st, 2017
  • Genre: Technical Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Technical death metal outfit Artificial Brain was forged in 2011 by musicians from the likes of Luminous Vault, Afterbirth, as well as Revocation. Since then, there has been a demo and single issued the year of formation, an EP in 2013, as well as a debut full-length titled Labyrinth Constellation, which was issued through Profound Lore Records. While a largely underground entity, the group gained some mainstream exposure with the song “Absorbing Black Ignition” having appeared on an episode of the CBS television series Elementary [according to metal-archives.com]. It wouldn’t be until a little over three years that a follow-up effort, Infrared Horizon, would be released. So is it well worth checking out, or is the complexity on display not all that awe-inspiring?

One thing to make no\te of here is the audio quality. A good majority of the recording can come off as something classifiable as “rustic”. There’s something that just makes Infrared Horizon sound old through natural wear and tear, which is something highly beneficial to the more atmospheric cuts of the release. There are a few rare occasions where you don’t pick up on it, such as on “Ash Eclipse”. This one carries itself in more of a modern manner, accentuating the sheer brutality felt in every high-speed passage, as well as capturing a hint of hopelessness as the pace slows out of nowhere. The end, however, benefits greatly as it just becomes more chaotic the further in you get.

“Vacant Explorer” doesn’t entirely fall in line with this, but some aspects like the start and approaching four minutes in have very little bite to them. Even the thicker grooves that erupt shortly after that point don’t quite have the necessary impact despite clearly possessing the potential to have your head bobbing along at the very least. “Floating in Delirium” is about the same. While the bass guitar is obvious in the mix, this one just sounds a bit stagnant, lacking the richness that would benefit the many changes in tempo. “Synthesized Instinct” does have that bulkier presence, but save a few bridges or passages like a minute-and-a-half in, the thunderous performance just comes off more as a standard technical death metal cut with a bit too much constantly hitting you throughout the just over four-minute life span.

“Estranged from Orbit” is one of the beefier passages, often hammering away at the listener with steady blast beats and a mixture of nightmarish riffs and hopeful harmonies. The latter of which seems more dominant around the half-way mark and by four minutes in. The rest, however, pummel you like a traditional death metal cut, asserting dominance similar to that of Dying Fetus as it drags you through the antiquarian mud established by the aforementioned audio quality. While not a polar opposite in any way, “Mist Like Mercury” has plenty of moments that lurk in the aquatic realm, bringing up memories of the Mastodon album Leviathan without the sludge. Instead you will find some of the doom metal traits Artificial Brain dabbles in as a suitable replacement, making the offering far more intense than it would have otherwise been.

Artificial BrainAnd then there’s “Anchored to the Inlayed Arc” and its many tempo changes. At its most intense, you can really feel the enthusiasm with every shredding riff and pummeling of the drum kit. The additional near gargling brutal death metal vocal approach only adds additional hair to the mayhem during, as well as after when the pace slows down and focuses more on emotion. For the most part, these passages can simply be described as depressing, allowing the deeper bass to really shine through. The only oddity here stands as the closing, which takes on more of a modern Atheist approach with the loud twang pushing the groovier passages into more of an early Mudvayne 2000’s alternative metal stye that doesn’t quite fit the overall performance, or even the album as a whole in all honesty.

While Infrared Horizion does have its faults, there are plenty of songs on here that will rile you up or put you at ease. From breakneck fury to zen-like leads and atmospheres, Artificial Brain pulls together some tightly knit technicality that proves why the Long Island, New York five-piece deserves their spot on the Profound Lore roster. Fans of the likes of Rivers of Nihil, Vehemence, even Gorguts among the others mentioned above will find plenty here to make many a return visit, though probably bypassing a few that aren’t quite up to par with the rest.

Artificial BrainDigital review copy of this release provided by Profound Lore via Earsplit PR.