Released by: Pure Steel Records
Release Date: May 10th, 2013
Genre: Melodic Power/Progressive Metal
Ty Tammeus – Drums
Tom Braden – Vocals
Shamus Mcconney – Guitar
Jon Jennings – Bass
Guest Vocals – Matt Barlow (ex-ICED EARTH)
1. I Am The Storm
2. The Raven Queen
3. The Guardian
4. The Death of Me
5. Deep Ocean Dreams
6. You Can’t Take The Metal
7. Ancestral Energy
Although Florida here in the U.S. is primarily known for its amazing beaches, various fruit exports and of course the Everglades, the state has a rich history in metal of all sorts (with a particular nod to death metal). ARTIZAN, a rather young group from Jacksonville, are welcome contributors to this musical tapestry, and they do what they do quite well indeed! Their style, you may ask? The guitar/bass texturing and vocal histrionics of TOM BRADEN bring to mind the Ray Adler fronted era of FATES WARNING circa 1991 or so, but the songs have a certain vitality and sparkle that brings to mind some of the better albums of latter day JUDAS PRIEST. However, is this combination a match made in heaven or a fail made in hell? If the songwriting and performances throughout Ancestral Energy is of any indication, I would have to see its easily the former!
The main thing you’ll notice right from the get-go is that the drumming of one Ty Tammeus are mixed quite high, much to his credit: even the slower cuts here literally jump off the speakers with precise rhythmic intensity. Check out his rollicking syncopation on ‘The Guardian’ before Braden comes bellowing in – fantastic! There’s also some straight ahead catchy stuff here in the form of ‘The Death Of Me’ and the methodical yet melodious 10-minute title cut that closes out the album. The latter of these two stands right up there with some of the best progressive metal of the last two decades, and carries with it some heady atmospheric content that only the best in the genre can illuminate.
Still, if you are expecting a melodic metal record that hits you like a bullet train (such as ‘Christ 0’ from VANDEN PLAS a few years back or ‘The Great Escape’ from SEVENTH WONDER) you’ll be a tad disappointed. Most of these songs here, good as they are, are strictly mid-tempo for the most part. And that’s not particularly a problem in progressive metal if the material is well produced or intricately crafted, but the best albums in the genre are always those that really push their dynamics to the breaking point. Dynamism is the dividing line that determines whether or not you’ll get an ‘Images & Words’ or something more akin to METALLICA’s St. Anger….but on this sophomore record, ARTIZAN are almost where they need to be: getting closer to crafting something truly special from start to finish. Thus, I enjoyed this album…and am looking forward to their next even more!
Written by Derek
Ratings Derek 8/10
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