By Marcus Pan
Norways 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. Theres 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 wasnt aware of it until I read their
press page prior to writing this review.
Artifact are quite good. If you took The Last Dance 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, Ive 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.
Theres a difference and I think Artifact have realized that
Tors vocals are strong and carry a melodic tone will
still remaining a deep bass rumble. Singers like Gustavo Lapis of Bitter
Grace or maybe even Andrew Eldritch are similar. Truth Forgotten gets
heavy industrial for the hook and windily electronic for other bits. Its
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
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 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
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 theyre just really good at it while everyone else
is being all half-assed about it Im not really sure. But so long
as Artifact continue to use that ingredient, whatever it may be, to spice their
offerings theyll do fine. For a new band, they sure have a tight old
Haugesundsgt 7, Leil 332, 4014 Stavanger, Norway
Phone: +47 93041726
 Interviewed in
 Bitter Graces debut,
God and the Abyss, was reviewed in
 Theyre wonderful
Doomsday Back + Forth Vol. 5 was reviewed in Legends #121.