-- ArtFx --
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
I got in touch with ArtFx thanks to their drummer Ivo, who I had already known earlier back when he was revealed to be the new vocalist of the Ostend Bay Area thrash metal act Lethal Injury. Ivo invited me to check out his ArtFx’s debut EP “Turning Point” and to do an interview with the band. While the interview will be done in the near future (probably during the “Turning Point” release party this February), the EP is already getting shredded!
“Turning Point” is the first EP from the Belgian progressive metal band ArtFx and is released independently. It begins with the distorted riffs of the opening track “Division,” riffs that go from fast and harsh to slower and more melodic. ArtFx then moves on to “Flatline” wherein upbeat guitars are intertwined with frantic blast beat sections.
“Written In Blood” is one of the heaviest tunes on the EP with roaring & rumbling beats, multilayered drums blasting through the speakers and aggressive shouting. Then comes the more “intimately” sounding “Ghostwalker” which also features some sweet guitar solo work from Dempsey as well as an orchestral ending. “Nervous Breakdown” is another heavy tune with hectic riffs full of madness and a narrator who’s just one inch away from absolute insanity.
“Dark” is a slow metal burner that reminds me of classic Black Sabbath and has a very grim and brooding atmosphere. “All Is Obliterated” is a flexible tune that ends with some powerful guitar solos and finally the title track of “Turning Point” wraps everything up with vicious beats (that made me think of Mick Gordon’s Doom soundtrack), an apocalyptic atmosphere and a calming ending.
While ArtFx describe their style as progressive metal there’s also groove, death and even some power metal involved. In addition, the songs on “Turning Point” are pretty short and concise compared to what assume progressive metal to be. The band uses much distortion in their sound (which gives everything a very metallic feel) and they frequently switch the pacing throughout the song. When it comes to vocals, Elke mostly sings in a clean but commanding voice with the occasional extreme vocal here and there. One vocal element that often returns is her singing in a soothing voice while drummer Ivo slams his drums furiously, quite a nice contrast overall although I wished she didn’t sing during some of the EP’s guitar solos (I prefer to hear those without vocals).
Although the songs on “Turning Point” are certainly enjoyable, they also are a bit too similar to one another. I believe the band has more musical and vocal tricks up their sleeves and songs like “Written In Blood,” “Dark,” “All Is Obliterated” and the title track clearly hint to that. So I want to hear different vocal styles, more guitar solos, more ambient & orchestral samples and songs that all have more unique atmospheres. And maybe ArtFx can also make a lengthy prog metal epic that blends all this together for an awesome finale. But in any case, ArtFx has entertained me with this enjoyable EP and I’m looking forward to more.
The artwork of “Turning Point” is a bright blue image of space with planets or moons at various distances. A nice sci-fi image that’s pretty relaxing to look at. The themes on the “Turning Point” EP, however, are less peaceful. The songs deal with humanity and how mankind is its own mortal enemy as we cause the exact same global pollution, physical and mental anguish that we suffer from. And the questions ArtFx asks in “Turning Point” are numerous. Can we still be saved? Do we deserve to be saved? Can we still turn the tide? Can we learn from our past mistakes or are we doomed to keep on repeating until it eventually leads us to our doom?
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
My favorite tunes on this “Turning Point” EP are “Flatline,” “Dark,” “All Is Obliterated” and the title track. And my least favorite track was the rather forgettable “Nervous Breakdown.”
7 blue moons out of 10. ArtFx’s debut EP is a solid first effort. Although the metallic prog metal gets a bit repetitive overtime, the band does show plenty of other creative traits (including ambient, groove, death & power) that I hope they’ll expand in their next releases.