Independent hard rock band Artifas has quite a bit going on right now. The band is serving as support for Nonpoint’s current headlining run. It is also running a contest giving audiences the chance to win a guitar. Both are in support of Artifas’ new album, Reflections, which released Friday through Imagen Records/Warner Media Group. The 11-song album is a strong new offering from the band that is sure to engage and entertain a wide range of rock and hard rock fans. That is due in large part to the album’s featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The record’s lyrical themes are just as important to its success as its musical arrangements and will be discussed a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important to the album’s presentation in its own way. All things considered, they make Reflections a work that most rock and hard rock fans are sure to enjoy.
Artifas’ brand new album, Reflections, is a positive new offering from the up-and-coming independent hard rock band. The album’s success is due in large part to its featured musical arrangements. From beginning to end of the 34 minute record, the arrangements take listeners who grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s back to those eras with sounds and stylistic approaches that are comparable to works from so many of the band’s more well-known counterparts from said ages. Case in point is the arrangement featured in the album’s first full (vocals and instrumentation) song, ‘Leave Me For Dead.’ The heavy, crunching guitar riffs and rich bass and drums immediately lend themselves to comparison to works from the likes of Korn. The addition of the vocals to the mix gives the song a more unique touch and counterpoint to the heavier instrumentation. ‘Safe,’ another early entry, features a musical arrangement that takes audiences in a completely different direction. In the case of that song, its arrangement is more comparable to works from Three Days Grace what with its melodic hard rock approach and sound. ‘Inside The Machine’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another work whose arrangement takes audiences back to the late 90s and early 2000s. In the case of this song, the subtlety of the heaviness in the verses and the more powerful choruses makes the song comparable to works from the likes of Sevendust and The Veer Union. Even with a song, such as ‘The Dark,’ Artifas offers audiences a touch of nu-metal, taking listeners back, again, to the late 90s and early 2000s. For all of the nu-metal and aggro rock that is presented throughout Reflections, there are some changes of pace, such as in the album’s closer, ‘Wannabe.’ This song, with its synthesized orchestra arrangement and metalcore style vocals brings the band more into the current age of hard rock and metal, changing things up somewhat. Much the same can be said of ‘Angels (Lead The Way).’ There is something about the approach and sound of the instrumentation here that lends it to comparison to works from Discrepancies, which has not been around the much longer than Artifas. Simply put, when audiences look solely at the musical arrangements featured throughout Reflections, what they will notice is plenty of familiarity in terms of style and sound and originality within the songs at the same time. That in itself is reason enough for audiences to take in this record. It is not the only item that makes the album worth hearing. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are also of note.
The lyrical themes that are featured throughout Reflections are important to the album’s success because they are just as accessible as the record’s musical arrangements. Case in point is the lyrical theme featured in ‘Legacy.’ The band said of the song’s theme, “’Legacy’ is a question, both to ourselves and our listeners. The question is what will you leave behind when your time is up? This is something we ask ourselves constantly. You only get one life. Are you doing everything you can to live the best life you can? In the end, will you be satisfied with the legacy you leave behind?” This philosophical rumination is one that every person asks himself/herself throughout life. To that end, the theme here will connect with any listener. The sense of thought that the song’s musical arrangement adds to the mix serves to make the song’s theme all the more accessible and engaging.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Cut Me Out,’ one of the album’s early entries, is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. In the case of this song, the theme centers on the topic of toxic relationships. That does not just apply to toxic romantic relationships, either. Rather, it applies to relationships in general. As a statement from the band stated of the song, “‘Cut Me Out’ is about cutting toxic people out of your life. Sometimes the most toxic people around you are the ones that are not so easily removed. At some point, you have to stand up and say enough is enough, cut me out.” This is a topic that will resonate with anyone. Everyone has those toxic people in their lives. They are family. They are so-called friends. They are even people who claimed to be loved ones, but clearly are anything but. Everyone reaches that point in which they have to say, ‘Cut Me Out.’ The fire in the song’s musical arrangement does well to help illustrate the feeling that every person feels when they reach that point of wanting to tell those toxic people that it is over. The two items together make the song’s lyrical theme that much more engaging and entertaining and another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical theme.
Inside The Machine’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical theme. While not one of the album’s singles, the lyrical content that can be deciphered points to a seeming theme of someone fighting that all too familiar internal emotional battle with himself/herself. That is inferred through the line in the chorus that asks, “What am I fighting for?/Why was I made this way?/…Fighting for something more/Dividing this part of me/Stuck inside the machine.” That in itself is that seeming internal battle. If in fact that is the case, then it will engage audiences just as much as the other themes examined here and those in the rest of the album’s songs. That is because whether a person wants to admit it, many people go through that battle on a near daily basis if not daily. The mood that the song’s musical arrangement sets adds to the impact of the song’s seeming lyrical theme. It makes even clearer, the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. When it and the other examined themes are considered along with rest of the album’s themes, the whole pairs with the album’s musical arrangements to show even more why Reflections is so worth hearing if only once. The record’s production works with the album’s overall content to round out its most important elements.
The production that went into Reflections is important to note because of the impact that it has on the record’s aesthetics. So much of the album’s musical content is heavy and rich, with so much energy and fire. At the same time, there is also some more subdued content, such as in ‘Angels (Lead The Way)’ and ‘Hollow’ that is just as powerful in its simplicity. The power in each song is due to the attention that was paid to the details of each song. That attention ensures that every instrument is expertly balanced throughout the album so that even the most nuanced element shines through in just the right level. The end result is that the production does just as much to engage and entertain audiences as the album’s ceontent. All things considered, Reflections proves itself a strong start to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums, and new independent albums.
Artifas’ new album, Reflections, is a positive new offering from the band. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements. The arrangements largely take audiences back to the aggro rock and nu-metal sounds of the late 90s and early 2000s. Though at the same time, there is some content here that is more recent in its sound and stylistic approach. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are of their own importance to the record’s presentation. That is because they are just as accessible as the album’s musical arrangements. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation. It ensures that that best of each arrangement is brought out and that no one performer overpowers his band mates at any point in each song. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album a strong start to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums, and new independent albums.
Reflections is available now.
More information on Artifas’ new album, contest and current live schedule is available along with all of the band’s latest information at:
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