If there is a space between King Crimson and Marilyn Manson, that space definitively it’s filled with the Italian Artifex. With roots back to the Psychedelic/Progressive Rock of the 70s and 80s, but with gloomy resonances of the Industrial Rock and Industrial Metal of the 90s, Artifex are building a brand new world out of Hard Rock bricks and modern sounds, electronic layers, but not at least, strong emotions.
Antonio “Mircea” Olivo (voice/guitar/electronics) founded Artifex in 1997, in Bologna, Italy, wanting “to recall that “verve” which had the great bands of the 70s, developing their sound in a modern key through the “balance” between analog and digital.”. The line-up was completed by Francesco Paonessa (drums & machines) and Davide Schipani (bass guitar, synth). By now the band released four self-produced CDs: “Tristis” (1997), “In-Side” (2001), “Artifex” (2003), and an EP entitled “Redux” in 2009.
“Suspension of Disbelief” will be released on 27th January 2013 and it’s a concept album based on the MAN’s emotions, an intermittent and laborious back to basics made of suspension and disbelief as well.
The album also have two special guests: Pat Mastelotto from King Crimson on drums featuring on “Witness of Transition” and Fabrice Quagliotti from Rockets on keyboards and backing vocals featuring on “Electric Lights”.
Every song express a different emotion, so each song is “immersed” in its own unique sound range. Think of an out of space, or out of body experience, “Suspension of Disbelief” it’s a journey, an experience like that. Having a very smooth and comfortable balance between analog and digital sounds, they also manage to find the path between classic Progressive and Space Rock elements and modern, noisier sounds.
“Free Will” kicks in loud and powerful with heavy riffs and pulsing synth lines. Have a kind of Rush vibe, but the sound it’s more hybrid, the electronic got more space and it’s well integrated between the consistent guitar riffs and pounding drums.
“My Distress” takes down on a gloomier path, feels like Marlyn Manson get into an Electric Light Orchestra classic. There is a very subtle balance between the modern sound and the traditional feel and build-up. With a fluid groove, the song runs with its beautiful ups and downs.
“No Gravity” it’s contorted like some Laibach requiem, the noisy electronic layers create tension while the voice “floating” above. The guitar riffs add plus heaviness, while the spacier and quieter breakdowns reveals emotions. A very clever and effective construction of quite different elements. Eventually one of my favorites.
“Suspension” it’s a spacious and cold intro to the Rock ballad called “You n’ Me”; a gentle, orchestral flavored piece with a powerful, Heavy Metal fueled chorus. Queensryche had this kind of songs where electronic and acoustic layers are merged into one.
“Electric Lights” balancing between Pop flavored, electronic based verses and Rock fueled, more blunt choruses with powerful riffs and uplifting tempo.
“Quench My Thirst” it’s build upon a nice bass riff and some big fat synth pads and layers. The electric and synthetic layers are making once again a solid pair. Antonio’s singing it’s very emotional, very human in contrast with some mechanical sounding patterns.
“Disbelief” it’s a small, instrumental piece, a nice, refreshing breakdown before the highlights of “Witness of Transition”. This is a very powerful, King Crimson and Pink Floyd rooted and flavored Rock track with modern, powerful sound, related also to Rush. Pounding throughout and having an excellent groove, this is the closest thing to a genuine Rock anthem.
“Ghost track” closing the album with an abstract tripping, a colorful experimental journey inside the journey.
Artifex are building an universe of their own, this is a ticket to explore and discover it, so put up your headphones and jump!
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