Artificial Brain – Labyrinth Constellation (Profound Lore)

Thursday, 13th February 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Sporting some gorgeously bleak sci-fi cover art, Artificial Brain’s Labyrinth Constellation debut album is the latest entry into the ever-expanding realm of “space metal.” Some may discover the band through the involvement of guitarist Dan Gargiulo (Revocation), but don’t expect anything close to melodic death/thrash here.

With a sound that is sure to draw in listeners from bands such as Gorguts, Ulcerate, Deathspell Omega, and even Demilich, Artificial Brain cover some dense material. Frequently a landscape of dissonance and blast beats, “Hormone’s Echo” and “Bastard Planet” exemplify an album that could be off-putting for some listeners. Add in Will Smith’s (no, not the Fresh Prince) Demilich-inspired gurgles and you have a recipe that’s sure to excite as well as confound listeners. Thankfully, Artificial Brain are stronger songwriters than that.

Despite plenty of dissonant riffing all around, Artificial Brain’s surprise attack is in the use of its melodies. Tracks like “Absorbing Black Ignition” and “Labyrinth Constellation” both use some synths to add some sci-fi flavor, but they also place some subtle melodies that keep the music from being too unapproachable. Their ability to weave in even minuscule melodies like the slower moments of “Worm Harvester” are valuable assets, not to be under-appreciated. The final key here is Colin Marston’s production, which is ever so fitting, keeping everything giving it a feel that is neither distinctly modern nor retro, but allowing it the darkness required for such a cosmic endeavor.

Due to its sheer heaviness, Labyrinth Constellation is often hard to process in a complete sitting. As with similar-minded albums like Vermis and Colored Sands, it takes a certain amount of warming up in order to completely absorb it. For their first offering, Artificial Brain has concocted an authentic sci-fi mix of dissonance and melody that’s sure to start making waves.

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