The refreshing thing about music journalism is that you’re often going to be sent albums from bands that you have never heard of before, and there is always a good chance you are going to absolutely love the bands. That was precisely what happened with Artifex Pero and their new album Time in Place. This six piece band from Louisville crafts amazing music which doesn’t please you sonically but it also does something to you emotionally.
They blend the soaring theatrics of art rock with the harshness and emotional depth of post-hardcore. It is like The Suburbs era Arcade Fire meets the searing rawness of Brand New on their album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Of Me. Artifex Pero swings from delicately crafted medleys that soar and weave about the vocals of Lucas Worley to emotionally searing blasts of guitar and drums which twist Worley’s vocals into a heart-wrenching narrative worthy of Coheed and Cambria fame.
Time in Place is introduced by the soaring beauty that is “No Stranger to Worry”. This song introduces you to Artifex Pero’s ability to transition from the delicately beautiful to the emotionally searing. It begins with a soaring melodic art-rock styled introduction before transitioning to snarling guitars and heart-wrenching vocals. This song introduces you to the brilliant lyricism of the band as they manage to craft an entire song about anxiety and the anxiety of what the future could be like.
A song that displays the band’s post-hardcore edge is “Hands of Penance”. The song is kicked off by a searing guitar riffs accompanied by James Davis’s shouty vocals wrapped around a furious wall of unrefined post-hardcore noise. Again the lyricism is ever present as Worley spews the lyrics of “What good is fear to a man when he has lost everything else.” There is a brilliant vocal trade-off between Davis and Worley as Davis takes the much harsher, shouted lyrics while Worley takes the melodic Coheed and Cambria styled vocals.
“Liable for Tragedy” displays their softer side and more art-rock side; well art-rock meets emo side. It is a song that sees Worley be accompanied by a delicate piano medley backed by soaring, whiny sounding guitar. This is a song that hits you in the emotional sweet-spot before cauterising your synapses when the band launches into the aggressive “The Straight and Winding Way”. I almost thought this was a The Beatles cover with that song name. It isn’t though; it is a shocking wake-up from the trance-like state that “Liable for Tragedy” may have put you in. Worley’s vocals soar above the brooding guitar riffs and crashing drums to sonically assault your ears.
Artifex Pero closes everything off with a sublte blend of angst and melody in “The Golden Age”. The guitars are reigned in to give the song a brooding, melancholic feel while a delicate piano medley overrides them. It is the final taste of Worley’s beautiful vocals and lyricsm. There are moments when the full fury of the band is unleashed as the guitars reach a crescendo alongside a crushing drum. A point that I’d like to focus on is the bass line at some points of this song gives it a massively brooding and stormy feel.
Artifex Pero is, at the least, an incredibly unique band. They’re taking post-hardcore to a new level with their progressive blend of art-rock and post-hardcore. Maybe it is a bit reminiscent of Coheed and Cambria, but in a much more accessible form for a variety of listeners. Overall, this is a brilliant album from a brilliant band.