Thursday, May 4, 2017

Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon

Fairly often these days, we hear about advances in AI (Artificial Intelligence, not Allen Iverson. Which is too bad. We really need more Allen Iverson in the NBA). Scientists tell us that they are developing artificial brains that will think better and faster than us poor old humans. Yet all we really have to show for it on a daily basis is those friggin' robot vacuums, and I don't think they are taking over the world anytime soon.

This Artificial Brain is a self-proclaimed sci-fi death metal band from New York. To be honest, when I first started listening through this release, it seemed like it might be the same technical death metal that I've heard a hundred times before. That sentiment didn't last very long though, because even though this band has the same foundation as many other bands in the genre, the structure they've built on top is definitely their own.

The sound of the album is gorgeously bleak and forlorn. The band draws a good deal on atonality as one of their chief building block, and they bring in influences from throughout the metal spectrum. The music fits the concept of the album to perfection, which is that human kind has been erased from existence and in our place are cyborgs and robots who feel that they are direct descendants from humans, not something created by humanity. You'll want to have the lyrics handy for this one, because they have a lot to say and a story to tell, but also because, hey, its death metal, and you won't understand one syllable without the lyric sheet.

As you would expect from this sub-genre, the players are very proficient. A special shout out goes to the drummer, whose name I could not find, but dude is a beast. Some of the beats he lays down make me think that perhaps he is a cyborg. There is plenty to enjoy from the guitars as well, with the usual thousand notes per second shredding that you might expect. As mentioned before, riffs come at you from all angles and phrasings and at times the feeling of the whole affair is very off-kilter, yet at the same time it feels like everything is in just the right place. Unlike other bands playing in this style, there is some nice variation of tempo as well, so that as a listener you don't get that sense of sensory exhaustion as you might if everything came at you full speed ahead all the time. Don't fear, though, there is the proper amount of pummeling brutality that we all love from death metal. Its just very well measured out.

I love the technical stuff when its done like this, with something to set it apart from the crowd. The added bonus of interesting lyrical content and the concept behind the album make it even better. Our human brains still have the advantage over the artificial ones, and the really good thing about that is we can appreciate music like this. And hope that its a good long while before our carbon based brains are a thing of the past.


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