Artificial Brain – Otherworldly Death MetalTuesday, 18th February 2014
Space, the final frontier. Though for death metal bands, space has increasingly popped up as theme over the past decade or so. In fact, it’s almost cliché for technical death metal bands to not wax philosophical about the cosmos. With such a crowded scene, how does one make a band that falls into both death metal and space themes without coming across as yet another derivative act?
For that answer, one only needs to listen to Artificial Brain’s most excellent debut album, Labyrinth Constellation. Channeling the essence of bands such as Demilich, Gorguts, and Ulcerate yet weaving their own distinct flavoring, Artificial Brain has succeeded in creating an authentic otherworldly atmosphere like no other. To complete the package, there is Paolo Girardi’s gorgeous sci-fi artwork, which will certainly be one of the best covers you’ll come across this year.
DR was able to contact drummer Keith Abrami, who was able to answer a number of our questions about the up and coming band. Read on for discussion about how they did not use synths, the appeal of their album to even hardened death metal vets, as well as the afore-mentioned artwork.
Dead Rhetoric: How did Artificial Brain end up forming?
Keith Abrami: Dan [Gargiulo; guitars, also of Revocation] and Sam [Smith; bass] grew up together, as did Jonathan [Locastro, gutaris] and I. In 2009, Jonathan introduced me to Dan and Sam, in attempts to start an “old-school” style death metal band. About a year in, we knew we needed a vocalist to complete the puzzle, so we contacted Will and offered to have him come hear what we were working on. We asked him to use the deepest vocals he had, he did, and it continued evolving from that point on.
Dead Rhetoric: Clearly the name Artificial Brain has some background in science fiction. Is there anything you can elaborate on with the band name?
Abrami: One of many interpretations of the name Artificial Brain could be the unavoidable synergy of organic and inorganic entities in our species’ current evolutionary path. Any further positive or negative connotations are left to be decided by the individual.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of the band’s influences?
Abrami: Abigor, Virus, Deathspell Omega, Suffocation, Demilich, Gorguts, Absu, Blut Aus Nord, Origin and Dim Mak. Anger, disappointment, terror, and negative intuition. The Hubble Deep Field, the Voyager Program and future space exploration.
Dead Rhetoric: Is there a song on Labyrinth Constellation that really defines you as a band?
Abrami: “Moon Funeral.” It was the last song we wrote before recording the album, and it offers a valid representation of both our influences and mission.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the deal come about with Profound Lore?
Abrami: Colin [Marston; Gorguts, Krallice, etc.] had recommended Profound Lore to us during the recording, and a good friend of ours ended up giving them a copy. They were interested so we decided not to look any further.
Dead Rhetoric: The cover art for Labyrinth Constellation is absolutely one of my favorites in recent memory. How much free reign did you give Paolo Girardi to do what he wanted with the art?
Abrami: We really had no previous ideas, so we referenced Suffocation’s Effigy of the Forgotten, and The Key by Nocturnus to Paolo, and said it had to involve space. After that we just let him do what he does best, and the outcome was exactly what we wanted.
Dead Rhetoric: A common theme with your music is that even people that feel tech death is over saturated at this point are still eager to hear Labyrinth Constellation. What is it about your sound that you feel draws people in?
Abrami: Though we cannot speak for others, we assume that unlike most over-produced death metal creations, the listener can still tell that we are humans composing an aggressive form of personal expression. We’re frantically grasping onto a sound that for us, defined early death and black metal before it was exposed to polluted air and infinite sub-genres.
Dead Rhetoric: You used some synths on “Labyrinth Constellation” and “Absorbing Black Ignition.” Do you ever feel like some people cry foul when a punishing tech death band uses some atmosphere to enhance their sound?
Abrami: Yes of course, though, the part in “Absorbing Black Ignition,” as well as any other parts of our album that sound like synth are various filters on our instruments/ voices, not actually synth. Colin Marston was a huge help in achieving this.
Dead Rhetoric: Your lyrics paint a rather engaging picture (“I will vomit thunder through teeth made of mountains”). Where does the inspiration come from when penning the lyrics to an album like this?
Abrami: Most of the lyrics are the product of ideas and experiences that we have all had as humans. Will knows exactly how to keep them odd, imaginative, and space oriented. There are instances where we’ll tell him what kind of emotions the songs bring out in us, so he can incorporate some of our thoughts into his own creations.
Dead Rhetoric: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that Artificial Brain doesn’t do a ton of touring? Is this the case, and if so, why?
Abrami: We have never done a tour. We’ve also never played outside of New York, though we hope to soon. We all have jobs and responsibilities that tie us down pretty hard. We do what we can with the time that we have.
Dead Rhetoric: With the attachment to science fiction and the cosmos, what is Artificial Brain’s outlook on the future?
Abrami: The past and present of the universe are powerful and seemingly spontaneous. Artificial Brain is actively analyzing its magnitude. We are eagerly awaiting any future occurrences to further our research.