April 21, 2017

Artificial Brain - Infrared Horizon

By Bryan Camphire. Artificial Brain begin their sophomore record, Infrared Horizon, with a tune called “Floating in Delirium” and they could hardly have chosen a more fitting title for a cut to kick off this monstrous record.
By Bryan Camphire.

Artwork by Adam Burke.

Artificial Brain begin their sophomore record, Infrared Horizon, with a tune called “Floating in Delirium” and they could hardly have chosen a more fitting title for a cut to kick off this monstrous record. The track starts and immediately your sense of gravity is completely thrown off because you don’t know what just hit you. Artificial Brain has just come at you like a highly sophisticated well-oiled killing machine with razor sharp teeth.

Titles to tunes further on in the record can serve as something of an interstellar road map. “Estranged from Orbit,” “Vacant Explorer,” “Graveyard of Lightless Planets”... we are seeing a theme developing here. This behemoth of a release seems to be dealing with things not as they should be. In the face of such quandaries, there is a sense of constant frenetic motion in the music. A darkness resonates on Infrared Horizon, as though the music is frantically charting a course spiralling toward a deep black void. Perhaps that’s why the horizon is seen as infrared, because it might be completely indecipherable otherwise.

Artificial Brain plays with tempo so drastically that each song feels like a violent car chase as the music careens every which way, peeling out, caterwauling, switching gears, heaving and roaring toward a fiery death. Maybe all this is occurring on a distant lightless planet. It’s impossible to be sure.

This band is no vehicle for one star player, everyone in the group pays a deep commitment to the crushingly complex material. The playing is executed with surgical precision from all of its members.

The vocals range from deep guttural lacerations to shrill maniacal screams. The low vocals often seem to harmonise with the detuned guitars, rather than to act as a mere ornament. A highlight is the denouement of the record’s title track, the instruments lock into a half-tempo dirge, and this malevolent juggernaut roars past when the instruments drop out. A sinister bubbling emerges out of the wreckage. The vocals spew forth immitigable vibrations of tectonic dissonance, down to the very burning core of human suffering where the heart seems to crackle like flesh on hot coals.

The bass is quite prominent throughout the whole record; not only is it high in the mix, but bass lines are often leading the music. The drumming is completely visionary and suits the music perfectly. It’s never predictable and always exceedingly precise. The guitars eschew typical power chords and are constantly augmenting the band’s harmonies with jarring discordant playing. It’s a dense admixture, and in another band’s hands it might be murky. The production is so clean on this record, however, that all of the band’s harmonic mischief is on gloriously vivid display. The choice of amps and distortion for the guitars seems to steer away from a wall of sound approach, instead letting the sinister melodies speak for themselves. This effect is helped by the breakneck pace at which the band plays, throwing new parts and new atmospheres at you every five or ten seconds. All the while, Artificial Brain is really straining at the reigns shattering the confines of what has been done thus far in death metal.

Artificial Brain do not sound like that band from Canada that plays dissonant death metal. They don’t sound like that band from France that plays dissonant black metal. Nor do they sound like that band from New Zealand that plays dissonant blackened death metal. Artificial Brain sounds like Artificial Brain. They set themselves apart by putting forth dynamic tunes, none of which sound quite alike. Each song possesses its own integrity, its own gravity and its own atmosphere. With Infrared Horizon, Artificial Brain have emerged as one of the most unique sounding bands in the vast ever-expansive universe of death metal.

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