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Circle of Contempt “Artifacts in Motion”

Circle of Contempt have crafted a seven layer burrito of a metal album in Artifacts in Motion. There are no surprisingly new or weird ingredients, but there are so many good ones that there’s bound to be something in there you like. The flavor is in the musical combinations present in Artifacts in Motion, and the combinations work. This is dense music that borrows from death metal, progressive metal and a better version of whatever the hell In Flames is these days. The songs on Artifacts in Motion are full, well crafted, well played, and there are some moments of brilliance. Overall I would label this band as progressive metal more than anything else. I base that label on the technicality and obvious musicianship each member possesses, even the forgotten member of any band, the bassist. I play bass, I can say that.

From the first listen of the intro track, Color Lines, a penchant for complicated rhythmic staccato guitars is evident, and that trend continues throughout the album. The riffs here remind me a little bit of Meshuggah; which is a good thing, if I may quote Martha Stewart who I’m sure is into metal after her time in prison. There is melody here as well, large swells and ringing chords that keep the rhythmic changes in check and make this album very accessible. Prelude For The Implication is a great example of some of the more melody driven aspects that Circle of Contempt is capable of producing. There are keyboards on this album, but they are used tastefully and do not overpower the rest of the band, no Bon Jovi moments here. Guitar work is impeccable, Risto-Matti Toivonen has the technical metal chops to compete with some of the best. The drummer, JP Kaukonen, keeps up with Toivoneen and adds his own touches, but also knows when a simpler double bass line is just the right thing to play. Markus Karhumaki’s bass lines are tight, well played and on a similar musical level to the rest of the band. The lines are well thought out and also mixed correctly, clear in detail and easy to hear. Vocalist Riku Haavisto has a somewhat limited range but he makes great use of what he can do. Lyrically the quality is good, some parts better than others. There are a few very powerful lines, for example this one from Scour The Sharpside “I pay in blood to end this, I found my own way to love”. Cheese? Maybe so, but it’s pure emotional gold.

Quality lyrics, great song structure, complicated rhythms and high quality musicianship all combine in Circle of Contempt’s Artifacts in Motion. Is it the most groundbreaking thing I’ve ever heard? No, not really. Is it a very good metal album that combines progressive metal, death metal, melody and even a bit of that Swedish (they are actually Finnish) sound? Yes; it is.

Track Listing:

1. Color Lines
2. Nothing Imminent
3. Artifacts In Motion
4. Concealed
5. Remants Left
6. C.O.C.
7. Prelude For The Implication
8. The Pendulum Swing
9. A Day For Night
10. Zerohour
11. Scour The Sharpside

 


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