Jacksonville, Florida’s Artizan are a progressive metal band that has just released their self-titled debut EP. Artizan’s core is composed of two former members of the mid 1990’s progressive metal band Leviathan. Drummer Ty Tammeus and singer Tom Braden have re-entered the metal fray with this set of three songs and a new band. Despite a subdued and minimalist album cover, everything about this EP is professionally crafted. The band enlisted Jim Morris as producer, the man responsible for capturing Iced Earth’s pulverizing sounds on several albums and mixed the songs at the famous Morrisound Studios in Tampa.
From the tasteful acoustic intro of “Fire”, to the melodic and driving opening riff to a “Game Within A Game”, Artizan has put together catchy and well-arranged songs. While there are progressive elements within each song, they do not reach bombastic and self-indulgent levels. Clearly, the concept of song is the order of the day, and the outstanding vocal work of Braden is matched by the band, particularly in the riff work of guitarists Shamus McConney and Hermanus J. Rombouts. The production is top notch and the songs have enough complexity combined with an old school sense of groove to appeal to a wide range of metal fans.
Artizan’s EP is regrettably short, but it should attract the attention of a major label in the near future. It will be interesting to see if the band can sustain this level of high quality through a full length recording, but the first three songs are a definitely positive sign. Progressive metal fans will find much to like here, but there is enough bite and restraint for the no-nonsense metal fan to appreciate as well.
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