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Review: The Artificials – The Artificials

Review by Adriana.

The Artificials is a progressive metal project by Sarah Rigdon, Aaron Surratt, and Alan Rigdon (formerly in Erra). The Artificials EP was released in January of 2015 and is currently available on Bandcamp. “Preface” opens the EP with a very calm guitar intro that leads into a very mellow sounding song. It is played at a slow pace with soothing high notes played behind the vocals, making it almost atmospheric. The last minute of the song has more harsh/shouted vocals and cymbal strikes, but it still retains the relaxed feel behind the harshness. It was a well­ suited opener for the music to follow it. The second song is called “Lone” and has a more progressive metal sound than the opener. Vocals by Sarah Rigdon offer versatility to the technical and somewhat aggressive guitar and drum playing. Having the warmer vocals makes the song more ethereal and complete; it is a nice touch.

“Blue Constant” is the third song on the EP. If you want to get an idea of what The Artificials’ music is like, “Blue Constant” is your best bet. This song opens with a very atmospheric tune (like “Preface”) with Sarah’s vocals and subtle synth­sounding noise in the background to invigorate the calm before the storming drums and djentle riffs that proceed. The rest of the song sticks to a formula of heavy, technical sections like “Lone” featured and progressive elements found in some other music in the progressive genre like HAARP Machine and The Contortionist. The final track off of The Artificials is “Fox Hollow”. It has a lot more djent­-like riffs and simultaneous shredding guitar work than the other tracks. For a heavy song, it is rather beautiful. This is most reminiscent of Erra’s music, since Alan was formerly in Erra, with one guitarist playing the heavy/chugging riffs and the other playing the notes that give the song its unique sound.

There is a lot to like in this album, especially if you are a fan of progressive metal. The Artificials have a very different sound from other bands/projects in the scene/genre and let’s face it: individuality can be hard to come across in a world full of generic pop punk and metalcore bands playing anything to get attention. Female vocals of this type aren’t common and may not always flow as well as it did on this EP; that is if you like female vocals. Another thing that was interesting was how passionate this EP was. There haven’t been many albums I have listened to that emanated passion as much as this one. Though I feel some sections could be improved upon or made more melodic, it is still an album that has a lot of time put into it. There’s nothing more respectable than putting time and effort into music.

The production was pretty well done except the bass could be turned up more to get the most out of each song, however, this is only a project, it was the first release, and it was done independently. With that said, The Artificials did a great first job for putting everything together by themselves. The technical parts were executed well and the vocals and drums fit for what was being played. Great things can be done in the future for this project. If you like everything that was described then this would be a 10/10. I personally rate this a 7.1/10.

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