posted on 12/2008 By:
With their debut album The Healing, Austria’s Artas have created a work with all the ingredients of a modern popular metal album: Slaughter of the Soul riffs, breakdowns, hardcore vocals, clean choruses, thrash riffs, a Coolio cover, triggered bass drums, and a slick, punchy production. However even with all the right ingredients the fate of the final product ultimately lies in the hands of those who craft it, and as craftsmen, the members of Artas are journeymen rather than masters.
“Coolio cover?” you say to yourself, “What the fuck?” What the fuck indeed. Artas covers Coolio’s monster hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and it is…awful, of course. Could it possibly be otherwise? Fortunately there are twelve original tracks on The Healing to discuss.
Artas’ most unique feature is the exuberant dual vocal delivery of singer Obimihan and vocalist/guitarist Hannes. On the plus side, they can deliver a memorable chorus in multiple languages as demonstrated by “Fick Des Fett,” sung in German and “Bastardo,” sung in Spanish. Additionally there is “Kontrol,” the chorus of which consists of nothing more than “La la la la la la la la la,” and let me tell you, making that work in a metal song is no mean feat. On the negative side, the vocals occasionally slip into a kind of butt rock whine that reminds me of bands like Seether and Hinder.
Vocals, though, are mere window dressing, the meat of a metal album is the riffs. Artas performs competently on this front, executing with polish and precision, but compositionally, the band does not bring much of interest to the table. There are scores if not hundreds of bands playing melodic death metal or metalcore, which at this point amounts to about the same thing, and Artas does not do much to stand out from the horde in the arrangement department. In fact, during some of the musical passages I half expect to hear Thomas Lindberg start singing.
Despite my misgivings, I think The Healing may appeal to those with more mainstream leaning taste in metal, fans of Trivium or Arch Enemy, for instance. The band’s vocal delivery despite its flaws is more interesting than most of their peers and while the music is not particularly original, it is passionately performed.
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