Album Review: Artifex Pereo – Passengers

As more musicians strive to stand out within their self-defined genres and evolve from their pre-developed sounds, there’s a desire to create something entirely different from their peers. Whether it’s through the utilization of a conceptual album theme, a stronger pull toward a more experimental or progressive sound or simply taking the time to have better composition and songwriting, certain artists are truly pushing their respective genres forward. This is where experimental rock / post hardcore outfit Artifex Pereo have made a name for themselves as their 2014 label debut, Time In Place, was released to critical acclaim and laid out an intricately woven theme for all to digest. That aforementioned theme was built on the ideology of viewing the world from a perspective of someone hovering over it, seeing the world objectively. Continuing the story of their previous release, the band’s new album, Passengers, sees that same person returning to Earth, with the thought of addressing the on-goings that they saw from above.

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Genre: Progressive Rock | Experimental Rock
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release: September 9, 2016
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play | MerchNow
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One of the best ways to truly understand a more conceptual and thematic record is to have an understanding of the creation process and underlying message that is presented. In Artifex Pereo’s case, they create their music in a slightly unique and obtuse way compared to many other artists. The most important aspect for them is to craft music that has a message, thus the foundation of each track lies within the lyrical content being written first. This allows the band to build the music around their thoughts, outputting a sound that is just as much atmospheric as it is conceptual. On the flipside, they don’t shy away from various genre influences as elements of blues, jazz, alternative rock and post hardcore come together, creating a hybrid sound reminiscent of the likes of Dance Gavin Dance or Decoder, further exacerbating their experimental identity.

As briefly mentioned earlier, Passengers is about the return to Earth and addressing the observations discussed on the previous record, Time In Place. Fittingly, the record opens up with “Re-entry”, a brief intro that harkens space orientation with static-stylized transmission effects truly feeling as if the narrator has returned. From this point on, each track represents the concerns of the observer ranging from war, close-mindedness to propaganda, social media influence and instilled racism. This is a record meant to bring to light societal topics that are not only current and wholeheartedly relevant, but ones from the eyes of someone distanced from the struggle with the ability to be more open minded. Coupled with the bands roots which derive from a desire to not having a standard, formulaic approach in regards to their music, Passengers delivers a feeling of excitement and experimentation through diversity in sound with a wide ranging array of musical influences.

From the album title of Passengers, aptly describing what we are on this planet, the album artwork which contains subtle nuances of Earth itself to the track-listing found on the record spanning the re-entry to the final discussion in regards to for-profit religion, this is a record with a remarkable amount of attention to detail. Combined with the continuation of their underlying concept on their previous album, Passengers sees Artifex Pereo raise the bar for themselves yet again through the utilization of a unique approach in song creation and deeply rooted, yet connectable message. The end result is a band with a clear identity of who they are and what they want to do with their music and a record that outputs a crisper, tighter sound culminating in the epitome of their small, yet acclaimed discography.

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