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Articulus - I

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 22 October 2019, 12:06 PM

ARTICULUS is the musical collaboration between Norwegian musicians Chris Willumsen (Lead Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and Orchestrations) and Erling Malm (Rhythm Guitars and Vocals). The band is the result of more than ten years of development and composition. The basis of ARTICULUS music is heavy, guitar driven contemporary metal, with sweeping cinematic orchestration, and expressive, melodic vocals.

“The Bonfire of the Vanities” leads off the album, with what sounds like a full on choir you would have in a church. Then, the main melody comes in, rugged and ambitious. The vocal harmonies are excellent. Their compositional skills are underscored here…these guys are very thoughtful. Some of the songwriting is almost Classical in nature and Malm has an outstanding voice. “Beneath the Veneer” is a darker song, more in the vein of SYMPHONY X. The guitars maintain a steady and heavy presence while the vocals are smooth and easy on the ears. The harmonies in the chorus are where they really shine.

“The Unconfined” opens with pretty piano notes and strings, leading to an upbeat riff. The remainder of the song is a bit melancholy and depressed. This mid-tempo track really never gets off the ground as the other tracks have. “Absinthe” is a little faster in pace and features a really full and melodic chorus. This could be the first single off the album…it has a wider and more straightforward appeal. “And Velvet became Iron” has a darkness to it as the opening vocals are a bit subdued. The riffing however, it a bit simple. “Mutiny” opens slowly, with orchestration in the background. When the main riff hits it picks up in speed. That opening lead guitar melody is a keeper. Some more of those Classical elements come into play here as well.

“The Smouldering Ember” features some sweeping orchestrations and noticeable bass guitar in the verses. The vocals vary between smooth and mellow parts with darker more gravely utterings. They dial up the emotions in the chorus as well. “Letter from Rome, 1610” opens with some light piano notes before the main riff comes galloping in. This song has some Power Metal leanings for sure. The melody is in the forefront in the chorus as well. “The Last” is close to eight minutes in length. It has a mid-tempo swing that leads to grey skies and some despondence. It bubbles with darkness as they vocals remain in the low range throughout and with some closing orchestration in support. “An Asp unto my Breast” closes the album. It opens with sweet piano notes and some atmosphere. The melody is strong here and pulses throughout. It might be the best song on the album.

Overall, this was a strong release. The combination of several styles of Metal will appeal to many Metalheads. Many of the tracks were straightforward enough to be easily assimilated. Though the band is obviously talented, they prefer to concentrate on songwriting, melody and style over technical wankery, which they are clearly capable of. The vocal harmonies are excellent as well. Give this your time!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Bonfire of the Vanities
2. Beneath the Veneer
3. The Unconfirmed
4. Absinthe
5. And Velvet became Iron
6. Mutiny
7. The Smouldering Ember
8. Pulse of the Earth
9. Letter from Rome, 1610
10. The Last
11. A Fair Intruder
12. An Asp unto my Breast
Chris Willumsen – Lead & Acoustic Guitars, Orchestrations
Erling Malm – Rhythm Guitars and Vocals
Record Label: Etymology Recordings


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