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Album Review: Artifact by PIQAIA

Danish experimental metal band PIQAIA release their new album Artifact on 10th August via Prime Collective. It’s billed as delivering “progressive, experimental metal with inspiration from bands such as Tesseract, Haken and Periphery.” And “When you combine the special Nordic atmosphere and tone with technical riffs and playful grooves, you’ll get a whole new soundscape”.

While it can certainly be categorised as progressive metal, that description is a tad too grandiose. Even describing it as a “new soundscape” is excessive. Just because it’s progressive doesn’t mean it’s new or ground-breaking.

Technically it’s an impressive record – those riffs are crushingly heavy whilst having a tech-metal complexity that must be admired. However, it doesn’t sound particularly original, before the 10-plus minutes of opener ‘Raindrops’ finishes it already seems overly familiar. Good, but nothing much more. ‘Landscapes’ combines big riffs with hooks in an instantaneous albeit meandering track.

It also feels like a bit of cheat having this as an album. Although the five tracks clock in at just over 30 minutes, all five are at least 2 minutes too long. Rather than have the tracks succinct and honed it feels like the tracks have been fleshed out to make up the running time for an album. ‘Echo’ and ‘Artifact’ are prime examples of tracks that show promise but stay around long after they’ve outstayed their welcome.

If they’d been a little more ruthless with the editing of each track then this would have been an excellent album.

AD Rating 5.5/10

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