Artificial Brain is a blackened technical death metal 5-piece band from Long Island, New York. Infrared Horizon is their second full-length album, to be released by Profound Lore Records on April 21.
The US Eastern Seaboard gave almost as much techdeath to the world as Quebec, Canada and Europe, so finding another band in this subgenre from Long Island seems almost routine. Artificial Brain distinguish themselves with a very European sound, evoking such techdeath mainstays as Finland’s Demilich and Sweden’s Centinex. Some notes of Canada can be heard as well, with influences of Gorguts and Voivod heard in the fabric of the band’s sound.
Artificial Brain stick to blast beats and other speeds in the 300 BPM+ range. This makes individual songs scorch with excitement but leaves little room for songs to stand apart from each other when listening to Infrared Horizon from start to finish. Closing track “Ash Eclipse” is the album’s ‘sore thumb’ track for bucking that trend, having an upper-mid-pace tempo with a definite, distinguishable groove.
Other songs like “Synthesized Instinct” keep things fast and frenzied, without quite reaching grindcore levels. As that song shows, the formula works for individual tracks.
We use the ‘blackened’ qualifier for Artificial Brain’s techdeath due to the reverberant, mid-heavy low-fi guitar tone on Infrared Horizon. The resulting sound has more ‘fuzz’ and less ‘crunch,’ something fans of more ‘djenty’ modern metal might mistaken for poor production, though they would be wrong in doing so. This tone works well with the Voivod-reminiscent chords and the Centinex-like arpeggios embellishing them.
Vocally, Artificial Brain keeps things guttural and filthy, complementing the black metalish atmospheric tone with grunts that bring Cryptopsy’s Dan ‘Lord Worm’ Greening to mind. These grunts alternate with pig-squeals that have the same anguished feel as Demilich’s Antti Boman.
The group’s technicality shows itself very well on Infrared Horizon and one would hardly be correct in criticizing a death metal band for lacking in melody. Such music demands close, repeated listens to find every detail and every surprise packed in by the band. This might be the hidden genius in Artificial Brain’s adoption of black metal’s tempo and sonic characteristics. The approach only becomes a problem when there is little variation in tempo. Some slower passages would have added to the atmosphere a bit more on this album, and would have brought its rating up a little bit more.
Listen to Artificial Brain’s Infrared Horizon to hear a promising new technical death metal band in their developmental stage, on their way up to what one would hope to be a great future where their obvious musical brilliance could be better appreciated.
Notable Tracks: “Ash Eclipse”; “Synthesized Instinct”; “Mist Like Mercury”
FFO: Demilich, Cryptopsy, Centinex, Voivod, Morbid Angel