Thursday, May 29, 2014

Artificial Brain- Labyrinth Constellation(2014)

Artificial Brain- Labyrinth Constellation

Labyrinth Constellation is the kind of album which is just fucking miserable to write a review about.

Artificial Brain's debut full length is so instantly likeable, so warm and dissonant and fuzzy that is just immediately slides into a comfortable spot in your listening rotation, playing though it's "just right" playing length and throwing dozens of killer riffs and dynamic composition changes at you that it gets boring.  It is simply a perfectly crafted album from top to bottom... and that's what also makes it at times feel so unessential.

This isn't really a fault in the traditional sense.  This is an album not only of  technical skill but also chock full of ideas and just a hint of uniqueness to it.  Labyrinth Constellation fits rather snugly into the realm of hyper dissonant, hyper technical Death Metal with ever so subtle Black Metal and Industrial Metal elements, but not only athletically and aesthetically dominates much of it's lesser competition in the genre(Read: Vermis), but also offers enough personality to feel like something new.  Between all the Gorguts-cum-Deathspell Omega of Labyrinth Constellation lives the brutally muscular soul of Breeding the Spawn and Effigy of the Forgotten.  Imagine an art house Suffocation, thrashing through dozens of complex riffs and seeking face melting zenith while throwing lots of dissonant, melodic undertones at you from all sides.  It's works too damn well, and that's largely the problem.

There is very much a cold, calculated and mechanical nature to the album, despite it's thick, inviting production and heavy reliance on atmosphere.  Even at it's most unique, melodic and fuzzy, Labyrinth Constellation feels like a mapped out emotional journey that tries to trick you into thinking it's not on rails by moving fast and with lots of (un)wreckless abandon.  Certain sections seem to repeat themselves, and the tempos move quickly but are interchangeable and refurbished across multiple tracks.  Often times, I try to predict how a song will go and then see if the album can surprise me.  Labyrinth Constellation is the least surprising album of 2014 so far, even compared to much more traditional and much inferior albums.

It seems like a small thing to harp on, but it's a big deal in the margins of Death Metal history.  Labyrinth Constellation is an album seemingly custom made for me to adore with levels of fanboy faggotry; and album for me to lay on my custom hyperbole all over and annoy most metalheads who vastly prefer Jumpin' Jesus to anything made after 1994.  And I really very much enjoy the album.  I love the gargantuan brutality, the skin flaying dissonance and effortless atmosphere.  And any album featuring Will Smith of the truly legendary Biolich on vocals is a keeper for me.  But Labyrinth Constellation also feels...unworthy.  Something about it fails to achieve the heart of my stars, and although it soars high, Labyrinth Constellation in the very end finds itself burning up and crashing toward an unforgiving Earth.

Rating: 8/10

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