Written by: PP on 24/02/2011 06:49:43

Artas are the latest unit in the rising Germanic trend of 'modern metal', a branch of metal which splits influence evenly between industrial and heavy metal, usually resulting in a very poppy and hook-laden approach to metal. To a certain extent, you can call out bands like Deadlock, Enemy Of The Sun, Grenouer, Pro-Pain, The Very End and a bunch of others from the Germany/Austria/Switzerland region playing the same style each in their own interpretation, but there's one thing in common for all of them, including Artas: very tight, sharp, precise production that makes the drums sound slightly mechanical (Fear Factory style), the vocals slightly soulless but yet poppy and enjoyable (like Raunchy, for instance), and the guitars razor-sharp and the highlight of the whole recording.

This also applies on "Riotology", the sophomore album for Artas, which has been treated at the Jacob Hansen studios for some crystal-clear instrumental pounding. The production is one of the few bright spots about the record as it gives the nice, modern flavor to the record, allowing it to triumph on with a lot more power and aggression than a conventional recording would. Especially the scratchy clean vocal parts in "The Suffering Of John Doe" are worth mentioning in this context. But other than that, Artas are heavily lacking in songwriting skills. Despite a catchy hook here, a cool verse there, the band seems unable to string together meaningful passages into complete songs. As a result, the majority of the record feels pointless, as if the band are being heavy and aggressive for the sake of being heavy and aggressive.

Moreover, there are 16 tracks on the record which is just far, far too long for an album like this. By song eighth this scribe is ready to switch onto another band, but I'm barely half way to the record. This wouldn't be a huge problem if the songs were consistently good, but there's too much filler for the highlights to shine properly. Artas need to learn that quality over quantity is what matters in the music scene, and slash the nondescript pieces to allow breathing space for the big hitters.

Download: The Suffering Of John Doe, No Pasaran
For the fans of: Enemy Of The Sun, Grenouer, Pro-Pain, The Very End
Listen: Myspace

Release date 28.01.2011
Napalm Records

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