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Artension - Future World (CD)

Artension
Future World
by Makis Kirkos at 20 March 2005, 4:06 PM

It was sometime around 1992/1993, when Vitalij Kuprij, who was studying classical music in Switzerland at that time, met Roger Staffelbach, a Swiss guitarist who was also studying at the Jazz School in Lucerne. They soon founded their band Atlantis Rising, which played several instrumental gigs in Switzerland. After having recorded some demos, they got in touch with Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records, who showed great interest in the band but suggested to add some vocal lines to their songs.
Vitalij had already known stunning drummer Mike Terrana from one of Yngwie Malmsteen's tours. His friend, bassist Kevin Chown, also joined the band and enriched their sound with solid experience and great musicianship, and Artension was born. Mike Varney introduced Vitalij and Roger to several musicians, one of them being John West, whose soaring vocals (Royal Hunt), along with Vitalij's and Roger's lightning-fast solos, became the trademark for Artension's neo-classical music.
What we got here is the new album of these neo-classical / prog Metal masters, called Future World released by the Finnish Lion Music Records. Steve DiGiorgio replaced Kevin Chown on bass and it seems the band found a solid lineup once again after numerous changes. Before I start this review I have to say, if you are not into Progressive Metal then you better skip this one but if you are then stay put, relax, get a drink, light a cigarette (breaking the law here) and enjoy your reading.
I will be completely honest with you. When I first got this CD, put it in the CD player and started listening to it…I was disappointed. Ultra-speed guitar and keyboards solos, a drumming by Mike that could easily blow away any Speed/Grind drummer (the man is a machine) and vocals reaching notes that quite a few sopranos would be dieing to handle. I thought: man, this is too fast and annoying for me. Thank heaven I was wrong. Don't expect to understand Artension's music after the first hearing, not even the second… you really have to listen to them a few times before having an opinion.
One word best describes this release and that is: SPEED. Everything is played in double time… guitars, bass, drums, keyboards. Only exception, at some times though, are the vocals, which are more slow compared to the music and in some ways operatically. Massive sound, lots of effects in the background, tight rhythm section, guitar riffs that have another orchestration will be easily heard like a grindcore band, outstanding keyboard melodies and on top a vocal line to complete this exceptional album by a world leader in the neo-classical / prog Metal scene.
I really like the Tree Of Knowledge… it starts like a ballad having a piano to lead, moves on to a mid-tempo ballad where you can hear Mike's speed drumming in the background using his hi-hat and hitting the snare drum at its edge and then the track blows up to a speed song just for some bars until the band slows down again and returns to its original form. The title song Future World (8:03 minutes) sounds more like a mid tempo track (saying mid-tempo meaning by Artension's way of measure), converting into a ballad somewhere in the middle and concluding exactly the way it started.
To sum it up, Future World has a leading role in nowadays' neo-classical / prog Metal scene and you guys interested in that specific genre should definitely give it a try as it's worth buying. Clever compositions, a heavy sound, speed, melodic vocal lines and choruses… everything you need to spend a delightful afternoon with your companion or just a friend and enjoy your hearing. Oh, I have to add that this release features an exclusive bonus track, called Moonlight Sonata - 1st Movement, which is really qualitative.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Dark Before the Dawn
The Day of Judgement
Federation
Tree of Knowledge
Prelude (Theme by J.S. Bach - Instrumental)
Future World
Close to the Sun
Take Me In Your Arms
Stand & Fight
Really, Really Don't Care (Instrumental)
Moonlight Sonata - 1st Movement (Japanese Bonus Track)
Lineup:
John West - Vocals
Vitalij Kuprij - Keyboards
Roger Staffelbach - Guitars
Steve DiGiorgio - Bass
Mike Terrana - Drums
Record Label: Lion Music
     


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