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Album Review: Artery by Brontide

The lines between math rock and post rock can often be blurred and with Artery, the second album from Brontide those lines are muddied even more. Released on the 30th of June, Artery is a kaleidoscope of sounds, the intricate guitars take a nod towards math rock, the expansive textures to each track lend its basis to post rock and you’ll notice subtle influences of R’n’B beats and electronica.

Artery has been a long time coming, its 2011 predecessor San Souci was met with critical acclaim and quickly became one of Alt Dialogue’s favourite albums of the 2010s. If curiosity has got the better of you and you want to know what they’ve been getting up to, have a read of our recent interview with the band here.

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Artery successfully builds upon the success of San Souci; you will notice the band’s growth and maturity. The sound is a little more refined and measured. You still have the unbridled moments of full on intricate riffs, but this time around it sounds just a bit better and a tad more polished.

After a gentle lead in opening track ‘Tonitro’ soars and sweeps over intricate guitar riffs and driving drums. It takes the form of a heavier and focused God Is An Astronaut style track. ‘Bear My Bones’ is an absolutely incredible track. The distorted intro sounds akin to a piece from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the guitar lines are a thing of beauty. Over lapping layers of riffs and intricate notes complement each other perfectly. The track explodes into a fury of mind boggling complex guitar around the midway mark before coming together for a delicate and serene finish. The final minute of ‘Bear My Bones’ is exquisite.

‘Kath & Kim’ leads us down a road which will be vaguely familiar for Brontide fans. It has the intricacy of math rock, the pace of post rock and an element of electronica that wavers ever so close to sounding like vocals. It’s that element that will make you suddenly remember that Brontide are instrumental. With guitars this expansive and affecting there’s no need for vocals. The guitar work on display speaks far more than vocals ever could. Towards the end of ‘Kath & Kim’ the electronica comes back to the fore finishing the track wonderfully.

Those emotive guitars are there again in abundance in lead single ‘Cabin’. Another beauty of a track you’ll find the different guitar parts resonating through your mind. That’s the key factor to why Artery is such a fantastic album, the guitar work is instantaneous, the tones and textures may be quite common within the math and post rock spheres but here they are executed in a manner that strikes you in an poignant way, you can feel them hooking into your inner soul.

‘Knives’ is the most expansive and sonically stunning track on the album. Clocking in at just shy of 8 minutes you’ll get treated to a wonderfully delicate and intricate first quarter. Driving and sinister sounding riffs come into play to wipe away that calm before the track explodes into a cacophony of pounding drums and churning riffs. There’s an urgency that feels like a band breaking free of all restrictions. Things quieten down before the intricacy of the guitars and drumming battle it out for the spotlight.

‘Still Life’ is achingly beautiful. The guitars are toned down and gentle, they rip at your heartstrings and you’ll find it hard to not get emotionally attached to the track. At times there’s a flamenco flavour and in this striped back mode the expert musicianship really comes to the fore. ‘Caramel’ gives us more traditional heavy riffs before closing track ‘Red Gold’ reaffirms that emotional connect with the music of Brontide. Affecting from the first note ‘Red Caramel’ is uplifting and life affirming, signing off a masterpiece in true style.

I cannot place enough praise upon Artery. It blends all the finest points of math and post rock while adding something extra to the mix. It connects with you on an emotional level that is awe inspiring and reaches to your core. You can’t listen to Artery just the once, it leaves you begging for more and with every listen you’ll notice different nuances striking you in different ways. It’s expansive yet refined. A piece of true beauty, flawless.

AD rating 10/10

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  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 50 Albums of 2014 | Alt Dialogue

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