Unprocessed - Artificial Void - (9/10)
Published on August 21, 2019
German prog newcomers Unprocessed have returned with a bang in their sophomore record. Coming out only a year after their debut, Artificial Void shows that the band’s passion is burning hotter than ever before. The album still retains Unprocessed’s underlying, beefy djent feel, but it’s a farther progression into more experimental modern prog territory.
It’s tough to leave this album labelled as “prog metal”, because that could mean a billion different things. With music like this, I like to throw the term “jam metal” out there; I’m not trying to invent a new genre or anything, it’s just to give you an indicator as to what you can expect: grooving, body-moving prog with a touch of fusion elements thrown in. Where a lot of prog bands will be centered around elaborate riffs or erratic changes, Unprocessed live by the wise words of Space Jam: “Come on and slam, if you wanna jam!” The fuel of this slam-jamming usually comes in the form of ridiculously chunky bass and rhythm guitar tones, pattering drums, and fluttering keyboard lines.
Even though a lot of Artificial Void‘s grooves are built around the same foundation (impactful, 16th note staccato runs), Unprocessed is able to explore all sorts of directions with it, so that no song sounds like a rehash of the last. That isn’t to say that all of the songs are built around this foundation, though; the dark and heavy ‘Antler’s Decay’ and the smooth, fluid ‘House of Waters’ are just two examples of the diverse musical selection. Then there are songs like ‘Fear’, where the choppy grooves are separated by long, flowing choruses to avoid becoming monotonous.
Unlike a lot of albums in the modern prog space, the vocals in Artificial Void are woven into the fabric of the music, rather than being a necessary-but-uninspired evil. In ‘Ruins’ and the aforementioned ‘House of Waters’, the mesmerizing vocal delivery supports the atmosphere with the keys rather than joining the guitars in the foreground, but in songs such as ‘The Movements, Their Echoes’ they’re more in-your-face. Additionally, there are also some well-placed rough vocals throughout the album.
While this entire record is full of some seriously funky shit, ‘Abandoned’ takes the place as my favourite track. Its drumming is among my favourite, and the guitar lick in the intro and interludes is fucking juicy. On top of all of that, there’s a mix of rough and clean vocals, plus some really tasteful keyboard work in the background, so there’s a ton of variety to appreciate.
I was already expecting to really like this album after hearing the first singles a few months ago, but Artificial Void kicked my ass into another dimension. For such a young band, Unprocessed’s members have an absolutely insane amount of talent and it’ll be really interesting to see where they decide to go next.
Originally written for PowerThorn.com