Artists of War
Comprising two years of musical evolution, 'Artists of War' is the self-titled debut from Athens recording artist Brad Olsen. It is a creative amalgam of all things interesting in modern metal. There are moments of extreme brutality by way of the aptly titled 'Eight Headed Fire-Dragon' and 'Titan Rising,' as well as more complex, artistic pieces like the instrumental 'Earthwing.' Detuned guitars with plenty of fuzzy thickness carry each song with riffs that chug slow like a halting locomotive before abruptly speeding up and taking the listener on a non-stop thrill ride. Brad's vocals are as diverse as his riffs. While his clean, Dave Mustaine-esque singing is most prevalent, it is never overused thanks to adequate doses of harsh screams, gutteral growls, spoken pieces and occasional harmonies that would make Alice In Chains proud. Being twelve songs and over an hour in length, the album is no lightweight. Each piece stands on it's own as a musical entity, but combined tell stories of warrior's who create art through death. 'The Judge (Artists of War)' is the most identifiable track with this aesthetic, but sci-fi themes are also explored. 'The New Gods of The Galaxy,' as preceded by the three-minute interlude '(voices) Aboard Spacepod 4,' is a prime example. It features an intricate plot about the ultimate evolution of mankind and the rise of a new galactic race. Book ending the album is the forceful thrasher, 'Titan Rising,' that segway's into the faintly bluegrass stylings of 'Spiritus Rhythmus.' The album's last track, 'Fall On The Sword,' brings it all together. Contorted riffing, verbose solos and epic lyrics tell of a warrior's last chance for honor through death. Passion, emotion and feelings pervade this album and tell a unique story. Although it can be interpreted in many ways, the basics are: heavy riffs rule, the riffs must be unusual, there must be one part in every song that sends chills down your spine, the album must be enjoyable every time you listen to it, it must not abandon it's influences, nor must it be too reliant upon them, and all hail the amplifier. A continuing saga of warrior's and their nemesis', this album is the first in a series. It introduces the listener to the violent sounds of war making and sheds light onto the minds of the people who wage it. Their art is warfare. This is Artists of War.