Gather round, O admirers of all-out power and intricate prog, and witness the glory of the AGE OF ARTEMIS. Having two albums already in their arsenal, the band has brought forth a third in “Monomyth”: a truly staggering record which blows the past two out of the fucking water. Within, you will find an astounding amount variety, detail, and passion.
“Monomyth”“s twelve tracks, as the name suggests, are molded around the steps that a hero takes on his journey to, well, become a hero. Like the journey to heroism, it”s a dynamic adventure. There”s no shortage of life in its proggy breakdowns and instrumentals. There”re hard-hitting experiences in “Where Love Grows” and beautiful, reflective emotion in the acoustic percussiveness of “A Great Day to Live”. And then there”s my favourite track: the eastern influenced discovery of “Unknown Strength” (which has a killer lick before the verses that sounds akin to a JoJo”s Bizarre Adventure opening. Coincidence? Probably.).
There are plenty of things that have been improved upon in the five years since their last album. The first is instantly realized upon the entry of the vocals in “The Calling”: the melody. In AGE OF ARTEMIS‘s former work, the melodies were often lazy and altogether unmemorable. However, such is not even close to the case anymore; both the verses and choruses have been given due care, and the choruses in “Lightning Strikes” and “Helping Hand” (and those kicks underneath? Holy fuck. I can”t get enough of them.) will nearly have you shouting from the rooftops. Another rather important aspect is the fluency of the album. No more do we hear a jumbled mess of too many ideas clashing with each other, but a sophisticated prog album that has managed to put together countless different elements coherently and cooperatively.
On a bit of a side note, one thing that caught me off guard was the fact that the song “Endless Fight” and some of the synth arpeggios in the backgrounds (like in “The Calling”) are blatantly MUSE-sounding, specifically “Origins of Symmetry”-sounding. Once I heard “Endless Fight” and went to give the album a couple more listens, these similarities became more and more apparent. It”s not really a good or a bad thing, just something that caught my attention.
Aside from the fully matured songwriting and execution, the bandmates bleed some seriously terrifying skill. This the first album to feature Pedro Campus (HANGAR, ex-SOULSPELL (live)) as the band”s vocalist and he absolutely owns it. He”s charismatic and displays impressive versatility, from his lower, raspy vocals to the soaring brilliance that takes the stage for most of the choruses. The guitars produce sick riffs and shredding solos to match the majesty of the vocals, and Giovanni Sena (who also produced the album) chugs away the basslines and actually creates something distinct from the rhythm guitars. My favourite, though, is the kickass Ricardo Linnasi: the band”s rampant rhythm rider. Its boom boss. Its denizen of the drums. There”s not a single time when he”s not doing something cool, and he”ll hit you with a bouncy groove when you least expect it. I”d give examples, but I”d just end up doing a track-by-track of the drums.
If you aren’t sold on the rich melodies or the steady upbeat feel, the perfect execution of power prog will win you over. The synth and key parts fill out the background and are never overused. It’s my own not-so-humble opinion that “Monomyth” is amazing, and you”d be hard-pressed not to like something.
Originally written by Kane for powerthorn.com.