CD Review

Artifact – “Abandoned”

By Marcus Pan

AbandonedNorway’s Artifact do an excellent job of the heavy goth rock that a lot of us grew up surrounded by. Forming in 2002 in Stavanger, and are made up of Tor Arne Fassotte as singer, Bjornar Landa on guitars and Pal Evensen who handles guitars and much of the writing. There’s no drummer used, instead being programmed, which on the outset might worry some but you can barely tell, really, and after listening to Abandoned a number of times I wasn’t aware of it until I read their press page prior to writing this review.

Artifact are quite good. If you took The Last Dance[1] and threw in some heavier elements you might end up with something like it. Abandoned uses powerful guitar hooks, well keyed bass and, while stock, fitting drumming. Some might say, “Hey, I’ve heard this before.” Maybe so, but I could still carry a stack of CDs without there being too many to start dropping them, of all those bands that have done it “well.” There’s a difference – and I think Artifact have realized that difference.

Tor’s vocals are strong and carry a melodic tone will still remaining a deep bass rumble. Singers like Gustavo Lapis of Bitter Grace[2] or maybe even Andrew Eldritch are similar. Truth Forgotten gets heavy industrial for the hook and windily electronic for other bits. It’s a nice combination and very well cut and played. The two guitar attack of Bjornar and Pal are clearly present. Scapegoated & Demonized slows us down for an old school gothic power ballad, though I rail against the boorish use of fat-back drums at just over 3 minutes – too out of place for here.

New Messiah switches off between industrial and goth ballad like Truth Forgotten does. We shut down this short five track EP with the blistering assault of Mask of Apathy which comes in like Rammstein and flows like Skinny Puppy[3] with guitar picks for teeth. Programmed accurate but shreddingly natural at the same time. Tilts a little towards black metal vocally as well, nice strong slam-the-door closure to Abandoned.

Artifact somehow slink their way from the camp of goth-rockers that sound like all the other goth-rockers. Whatever the ingredient that makes them stand out is, they have found it and use it with skill. It could be the dual guitars or it could be the brooding vocals of Tor Arne Fassotte. Or maybe they’re just really good at it while everyone else is being all half-assed about it – I’m not really sure. But so long as Artifact continue to use that ingredient, whatever it may be, to spice their offerings they’ll do fine. For a new band, they sure have a tight old school sound.

Contact Information:
Post: Haugesundsgt 7, Leil 332, 4014 Stavanger, Norway
Phone: +47 93041726
[1] Interviewed in issue #139.
[2] Bitter Grace’s debut, God and the Abyss, was reviewed in Legends #152.
[3] They’re wonderful Doomsday Back + Forth Vol. 5 was reviewed in Legends #121.