Artificial Brain’s sci-fi-lathered death metal plots out machine supremacy on ‘Infrared Horizon’

Dystopia seems to be a normal subject matter now that the world appears ready to explode at any moment. And if the time came when humankind was wiped from the map, what would be there to take the planet’s legacy into the future? If sci-fi storytelling is to be believed, it could be machines.

In fact, that very plotline is at the center of “Infrared Horizon,” the new record from Long Island-based tech death metal crushers Artificial Brain. Like the very evolution of creation they detail on this new 10-track album, the band shows amazing development from their strong debut “Labyrinth Constellation.” Musically, these songs bend and twist throughout the cosmos, not just showing a penchant for these musicians’ talents but also displaying a stunning amount of creativity. Vocally, Will Smith shows a great deal of diversity, still going for his gurgly squeals but also incorporating more death grunts and shrieks into his game. The rest of the band—guitarists Jon Locastro, Dan Garguilo (Revocation), and Oleg Zalman (Severed Savior), bassist Samuel Smith (Luminous Vault), drummer Keith Abrami—add fire and mind-melting fury to this story that imagines a future where humankind is extinct and robots and cyborgs outlive their creators.

“Floating in Delirium” begins the record with crushing, bizarre melodies before everything goes totally sci-fi and into space horror. Smith’s inhuman snarls come into focus, while the song rips everything apart and leaves only shambles. Gurgly and spacious, the song eventually bleeds out and paves the way for “Synthesized Instinct” that is outright blazing from the start. Tricky death and creaky growls and shrieks combine and show their force, while the song continues to morph creatively. There’s a really cool sounding chorus (I guess it’s a chorus) that chills your mind, while the back end feels like being forced through an alien compression machine. “Static Shattering” is speedy and shifty, with the pace mashing your fingers, and Smith delivering his story in blunt growls. A section of prog-fueled death emerges, while shrieked wails jar any sense of calm, and the song ends in a pit of menacing thrashing. “Estranged From Orbit” has a colder open, letting the freeze overtake you, before we’re back in the midst of a bloody, unforgiving assault. The bloodshed is fierce, as the band goes down bendy tunnels that rip your innards apart and deliver optimum punishment. But it’s not all total violence, as the band displays some really fluid, imaginative playing down the back stretch, ending the track in corrosion. The title track begins in sweltering heat before the song cracks open, and strange growls meet you. The track keeps evolving as it goes on, with violent crunches, strong soloing, and the entire thing sounding space bound. The final minutes are marked by slow mauling and monstrous noises that sound anything but friendly. By the way, the cut features appearance by Trevor Strnad of Black Dahlia Murder and Paulo Paguntalan of Copremesis and Gath Smane, who contributes to the outro.

“Anchored to the Inlayed Arc” erupts, with Smith’s crazed growls barreling out of control and the pace numbing everything. Horrifying growls and technically driven firepower lay waste to everything, as things come to a gross finish in a pile of intergalactic gloop. “Mist Like Mercury” has a cool start, turning into a muddy, tarry nightmare, with the music heading off in all directions. Ugly misery rears its head, while the guitars explore the entire abrasive terrain, the music spirals out of control, and you’re left on the ground with the world spinning out of control. “Vacant Explorer” is violent at the front end but also disarmingly melodic underneath the chaos. Creaky growls and speedy playing unite, while the pace swirls and causes vertigo. Animalistic shrieks arrive later, while the mood gets atmospheric, yet ugly, giving the song an odd, but fitting finish. “Graveyard of Lightless Planets” trudges through the mud, while growls belch and guitars reach all over. The bulk of the song feels more like prog than death, though that doesn’t mean it’s not oppressively heavy. The final moments fade out into a black hole of noise that bleeds right into closer “Ash Eclipse.” A monstrous explosion and gross vocals greet you, while a run of imaginative playing is torn to shreds by a violent assault. The pace then gets even meaner, slaying with a thrashy abandon, bringing a storm of outright savagery. As the song winds toward its final destination, the playing gets rubbery, yet thunderous, leaving the song in a sticky mess of alien goo.

Artificial Brain remain one of the most inventive, damaging technical death metal bands out there right now, and “Infrared Horizon” is an astonishing creation by a band that is boiling in their own bizarre juices. I tend to veer away from a lot of tech-minded death because it often feels so cold and heartless, trading in soul for chops. Not Artificial Brain. These guys can destroy you with their prowess and get your brain wrapped around their futuristic nightmare in a little less than 48 minutes.

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