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Artamene – Ziggurat Award winner

by Mark Machlay at 26 April 2022, 6:03 AM

After having spent nearly 8 years together as a band, Iranian groove/thrash metal band ARTAMENE released their debut full-length “Ziggurat” this past January 21st for all to enjoy. Through a child passion for the power of metal, brothers Pedram Shitrah on guitar and Pooya Shitrah on drums honed their talents by jamming and covering many of their different influences through childhood. Today, the brothers, alongside vocalist Soheil Avakh rhythm guitarist Ali Karimi and bassist Yahya Rahmani are pursuing their passion in their homeland. Iran is one of the last frontiers where metal music and its fans work to break down barriers of prejudice and legal persecution under false pretenses of satanic worship and other pagan rituals. ARTAMENE sets themselves on the difficult path of breaking barriers and scaling the cliffs of prejudice. The band are fresh in their inception but in only a few short years have quickly risen to performing for crowds of over 500 people.

Thus, “Ziggurat” as the name implies is a monumental journey into Persian mythology that strikes quite the tonal resonance with the world of today. The band specifically says about the album, “In a world in which mankind struggles with depression, betrayal, fear, and darkness, waiting for a savior to lead their way to utopia, their lives perish in empty hope. They sacrifice their lives on each step of the infinite Ziggurat staircase to keep motion in this mayhem until they reach salvation, and the rain will wash their suffering away. Let your hearts shine through this blackened earth and set out on a different path of breaking barriers and scaling the cliffs of prejudice…’Ziggurat’ is based on Iranian ancient mythology which we tried to show human life in the era that we are living, especially ourselves as an Iranian metal band who are labeled as Satan worshippers and accused as an anti-cultural wave and relate it to the storyline which was told.”

If the subject matter of ARTAMENE’s “Ziggurat” isn’t intriguing enough, fortunately, the musical execution is quite good as well. From the opening of “Infinite Escape” you can already tell that this band has much to offer mixing several elements of thrash and groove metal with sprinklings of metalcore mixed in as well with extended guitar theatrics. Expanding on the latter, at times it seems like lead guitarist Pedram Shitrah oftentimes wants to leap out on his own and start his own guitar solo album. It can be distracting at times with extended solo breaks on nearly every track at almost exactly three quarters through, almost like following a formula. “Fear of the Darkness” channels more of the metalcore tendencies with quiet, clean sections in which Soheil Avakh’s vocals sound like the lower tones of what Serj Tankian does for SYSTEM OF A DOWN to the growling, heavy groove and chug of the chorus sections. “Shining Black” is more straight-ahead heavy/thrash metal instrumental track similar in style to recent METALLICA instrumentals with more solo flair than Kirk Hammet can manage these days while “Inshcushinak” and “Mayhem” lean more into the groove metal style. It’s a varied package but offers a plethora of great metal across the spectrum.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Infinite Escape
2. Fear of Darkness
3. Heavy Motion
4. Mayhem
5. Shining Black
6. Inshushinak
7. Rain of Paradise
8. Petrichor
Pedram Shitrah - Lead Guitar
Pooya Shitrah - Drums
Ali Karimi - Rhythm Guitar
Soheil Avakh - Vocal
Yahya Rahmani - Bass Guitar
Record Label: WormHoleDeath Productions


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