Artificial Language - The Observer album review

Impressive first offering from California prog metal crew

Artificial Language - The Observer album artwork

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For a debut album, Artificial Language have just about got it very, very right.

The prog scene, often rooted in the bygone decades of yore, needs a steady stream of fresh faces to ensure it stays relevant, and if this California sextet are a sign of how contemporary prog is coming along, then we can all breathe a little more easily. Artificial Language’s sound playfully juggles the intensity and virtuosity of prog metal with a joyful, melodic topping; think Haken, Leprous and Thank You Scientist having a giddy foursome with the best bits of Panic At The Disco. Title track opener Observer and its ascending and descending keys is a dead-ringer for Between The Buried And Me too, but the band have enough attributes in their arsenal to forge their own personality. The Grand Skeptic, for instance, melts together flurries of neo-classical lead guitar chops with contagious vocals from Shay Lewis. Most tracks here are around the four-minute mark, so proggers should relish the twice-as-long closer Turn Off The Pictures, which flits between spooky keyboard and musical-meets-metal theatrics before ending on heart-tugging guitar strums. If this is what Artificial Language can conjure up at their first attempt, the future is exceedingly bright.

Chris Cope

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.