Recorded, mixed and mastered in Athens, Greece. Cover artwork by Colombian artist Marcela Bolivar. Released on Sliptrick Records on Tuesday 9 May 2023.
The Giants Collapse (2023) is the debut album from Athens-based, Greek metalcore/groove metal band Artificial Sun.
This is one of those albums that connected with me on my first listen through, and which I put off writing this review because I knew that I would need to move on to the next album in my review backlog, and like a book that you never want to finish I procrastinated and put off putting fingers to keyboard… to the point that I posted this a day late!
The album explodes into life with the twisting, rattling, pounding “Hell-o” (track 1) that sounds like a high speed train tunnelling through a mountain. It’s a strong start for an album will prove itself to be stronger still.
“Scapegoat” (track 2) knocks the tempo down a little and after a few stop-start riffs that are as heavy as you could hope for, the song settles into a fairly straight-forward metalcore groove with those genre-defining monotonous screamed vocals. What sets the song apart, however, is the subtle guitar melody that circles the monolith and the almost-prog changes of direction and style. It is a curious song that certainly backs up the band’s claims that they draw on a wide range of influences to create their unique sound.
Title track “The giant’s collapse” (track 3) is a foot-to-the-metal driving track of power and ferocity. While the vocals remain gruff, it’s refreshing to hear a metalcore vocalist changing the pitch of their delivery to create a dynamic tension.
The pace gets dialled back a bit with “Pathetic race” (track 4) with features a laid back, head-nodding groove that acts as a steady heartbeat throughout the track. The metronomic, single note—like a steady Morse code signal—adds another layer and lifts the song to new levels. This pathetic race segues seamlessly into “Monkey society” (track 5) which lifts the pace a little and strays into a song that reminds me very much of later God Forbid. “Sicko” (track 6) continues the same vibe, circling around a melodic chorus and passing through various explorative passages.
As the album heads towards its conclusion, the dynamic slows a little with the ponderous bass introduction to “Thin line” (track 7), doubled vocals and a pleasing dynamic that builds to a furious conclusion. “White lies” (track 8) is a full-throttle, heavy-as, stomping and whining track that proves that the back end of this album has been reserved to hide the weaker tracks—truth is: there aren’t any. And the short guitar solo that ends the track is as melodic and emotional as you might hope for.
“Hoax” (track 9) whirrs into life like an air raid siren. Thirty seconds of gleeful acoustic guitar acts as a smokescreen for the ugliness that follows: heavy, discordant riffs, stomp and hammer, like nails driven into the listener’s skull.
The second longest track on the album, “Dead man’s misery” (track 10) brings the album to a close majestically, spinning on a sixpence between mellow, relaxed passages and focused, overdriven storms of ferocity.
What is wonderfully refreshing about this album is the breadth and depth influences that are clearly at the heart of who this band is. While some metalcore bands employ only that monotonous half-scream vocal, Lolis brings range and dynamics, switching between vocal styles to serve the song. Musically, the songs ebb and flow, breathing life and humanity into each of them, juxtaposing light and darkness, loud and soft, heavy and fragile. This is definitely a band to keep a close eye on as they grow. Brilliant!
Review score: 95%
Grand Sounds PR contacted me inviting me to preview Artificial Sun’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either Grand Sounds PR or Artificial Sun. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Grand Sounds PR, and to Artificial Sun for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.