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Artizan The Furthest Reaches Review

Artizan The Furthest Reaches

Released By: Pure Steel Records

Released: 24 April 2015

Genre: Metal

 

Line Up:

Tom Braden – Vocals

Ty Tammeus – Drums

Shamus McConney – Guitars

Jonathan Jennings – Bass

Bill Staley – Rhythm, Lead Guitars

 

Track List:

01. Coming of Age

02. Summon the Gods

03. Hopeful Eyes

04. The Furthest Reaches

05. The Cleansing

06. Wardens of the New World

07. Heed the Warning

08. Supernova

09. Starchild

10. Into the Sun

 

Artizan are a band I have been fond of since their first album in 2011. Masterminded by drummer Ty Tammeus, they blazed a trail on the melodic power metal world with a truly impactful mark on an oftentimes droll and repetitive genre. I’ve said it before, and will keep saying, there are some amazing bands on the power metal scene, but there are an equal amount of bands that are so derivative I find it tough to enjoy most of them. I have never had that issue with Artizan. Something about their music instantly spoke to me from their debut Curse of the Artizan to their most recent offering The Furthest Reaches. As much as I enjoyed their previous two albums, this new one is the one that truly finds the band in their element as they deliver the best album they have done so far.

A Sci-Fi concept album set as a story read by a mother to a curious child telling about an alien race returning to Earth after a distress signal was sent out. I love concept albums, but these days it’s been tough for me to find one I can connect with. Frankly, most concepts tend to be overshot and ridiculous. One of the things I have been most critical of has been those albums that rely on spoken word pieces interspersed throughout. Magica for instance from the late metal master Ronnie James Dio is probably one of his best albums (for sure in his later career,) but for some reason I found the spoken interludes to be a drag on the amazing music. Lucky for Artizan, this album doesn’t fall into that trapping. There are those moments, but I feel like they flow better than Dio was able to make happen, much like another brilliant metal conceptual piece, Operation: Mindcrime, the best album of its type in my estimation. There are many moments here on The Furthest Reaches that gave me the same feelings I did way back when I first heard OMC. That is saying a lot as that album has remained in my top 5 favorite albums of all-time since its release. For starters, this album is packed with some incredible songwriting, at a level not as prevalent as I have heard in a band in quite some time. Tracks like “Wardens of the New World” (with a brilliant vocal provided by Sabrina Cruz of Seven Kingdoms,) “The Cleansing” (which features a fantastic performance from Matt Barlow of Ashes to Ares and ex-Iced Earth,) “Coming of Age,” “Supernova,” and “Into the Sun” not only tell the story, but are also excellent stand-alone tracks, much like the aforementioned OMC (frankly, I feel that way about almost every track on here.) The twin guitar attack of Bill Staley and Shamus McConney are as intricate, powerful and beautiful as some of the great dual guitar bands. Tammeus continues to show that he is one of the best drummers in the metal world these days, and locks right in with bassist Jonathan Jennings. Topped with the tremendous voice of Tom Braden, Artizan delivers not only the best album of their career, but likely the best album of the year as far as I’m concerned.

There are so many elements to The Furthest Reaches that instantly appealed to me on first listen, and there was so much more with each additional spin. If you get the deluxe version, you are treated to an incredible cover of the Styx classic “Come Sail Away.” As a huge fan of Styx I rarely hear bands covering their music, and there is no better band qualified to do it than Artizan. Not to mention that lyrically the song fits perfectly with the story of the album. This band’s existence brings me great joy, as their music sets a standard many bands miss. Most of the time when a band releases an album this strong I worry that they may fall short in the future, but I don’t have that fear with them. They are too good not to continue to deliver more amazing music down the road.

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: Chris 10/10

 

 

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