Hey there tech-fiends, it's that time of the week again. In the last few weeks alone, I've discovered numerous new technical death metal releases well worth covering. But today I have to take a bit of time away from diving into obscure stuff because the new Artificial Brain is fucking incredible and needs to be covered here. If you're on the hunt for more sick tunes, here's the usual reminder before we begin that all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
Every once and awhile a band comes along that takes the metal world by storm, not as a passing item of popularity, but as a musical force of such high quality that truly deserves every bit of praise and attention they've received. Artificial Brain fits that mold perfectly, which has always fascinated me, as the group play very harsh and extreme death metal bathed in uncomfortable dissonance. Which isn't exactly easily listening music, even by death metal standards. I was first introduced to the band by my editor Islander at No Clean Singing in 2013 when he covered their short EP, Butchering Cosmic Giants. Even then, it was clear to me that this band was something special, and yet nothing could have prepared me for just how incredible 2014's Labyrinth Constellation would be. In addition to receiving near universal praise, it was one of my absolute favorite albums that year, and one I would find myself coming back to endlessly over and over. I hadn't even stopped spinning it going into 2017 when the band's follow-up, Infrared Horizon was announced.
Like a lot of fans, I was deathly curious as to what Infrared Horizon would have to offer, and if it was capable of holding a candle to their prior masterpiece. The consensus seems to be clear, and I agree with it, somehow the band has written a worthy successor that sees them pushing their sound in new directions. All the while still retaining much of what made Labyrinth Constellation so good. On Infrared Horizon, Artificial Brain continues their spaced theme voyage, blasting into unknown worlds at the speed of light, adding just enough tweaks to their unique style of atmospheric heavy, frequently brutal, and black metal influenced take on technical death metal to differentiate it from the last album. Overall, the biggest change sound wise seems to be that the black metal side of their music is more prevalent here, although it was certainly a big part of the material on Labyrinth Constellation as well. This subtle shift towards further bleak and dark ideas is coupled with a slight decrease in some of the band's brutal minded tendencies, though yet again, that part of their sound is still present throughout Infrared Horizon.
All in all, I think it's easy to state that Infrared Horizon will be considered one of 2017's finest death metal records when it comes to assessing what the year had to offer. Every time people try to bitch and moan about the state of death metal, I remind them that acts like Artificial Brain exist and they are doing fantastic things well worth praising. Albums like this rarely come along, and when they do, it seems their unorthodox nature is a turn off for many. Yet somehow, against the odds, most of the death metal and tech-death world is in agreement that Artificial Brain rules. For that, I'm genuinely happy, and it's exciting to see the band push themselves to jaw-dropping new heights on Infrared Horizon. If you still haven't purchased the album, it can be ordered through the Profound Lore Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow the group over on the Artificial Brain Facebook page as well.