Taking Their Artful Place
Posted June 02, 2014
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Tooth & Nail Records is known for leading the way in hard rocking bands with Christian influences, but in recent years, they've sort of fallen a bit behind the frontlines as many of their artists have moved on. But since the start of this year, they've been on a bit of a signing binge and seem poised to restock their roster of incredible talent. Among the new signees is the mysterious-sounding Artifex Pereo.
Boasting a sound that fits right in with established T&N acts like I Am Empire, and with the long and outrageous titles many of the label's past acts are known for, Artifex Pereo are poised to become a staple of the label's next era. Taking an artsy approach to rock, the band blends driving guitars with dynamic melodies that range from soft and mysterious to angry and harsh.
Opening three tracks "No Stranger To Worry," "To Listen and Say Nothing," and "Hands of Penance" all exemplify the band's exciting formula. Far from simple choruses and radio-friendly bridges, the structures here are often complex and the lyrics long and deep reflections on topics relevant to our humanity.
One of the album's strengths is also the closest thing it has to a downfall. The album is so unpredictable and dynamic that it doesn't particularly resonate. There are certainly standout moments, such as the first three tracks, and the surprising piano-driven soft closer "Overview." The chorus of "To Listen And Say Nothing" carries a surprising bit of emotion. I just felt that as complex and thought-provoking as the other tracks were, very little musically stayed with me. The band is doing so much right in so many areas, but I think the blending of these areas is just somewhat off right now.
It's tough though to really find fault in art that is objectively of such a high quality. Hopefully subsequent releases will find the band able to keep what works so well in this album and better unite the strengths into a cohesive package.
Artifex Pereo has lyrical complexity to make many bands weep. They have driving vocals with a stunning range between soft and vicious. They can go from soft to headbanging-inducing in an instant, and they are perfectly capable of carrying an infectious tune. The worthy pieces don't always fall into a thrilling alignment, however, resulting in many of the songs not sinking in as deeply as they otherwise could. Count this as a must-hear debut from rockers to watch, though. Given a few albums to work out some of the kinks, these guys could be a true rock powerhouse.
Song to Download Now:
"To Listen And Say Nothing" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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