Sunday, June 28, 2015


Artizan (U.S.): The Furthest Reaches (Pure Steel Records)
What do you think of melodic heavy metal, in the sense of new-era Queensryche, Serenity or Kamelot?
Or, if you like melodic metal of an earlier time, what do you think about “Transcendence”-era Crimson Glory, “Time Will Tell”-era Fifth Angel, “Perfect Symmetry”-era Fates Warning, and/or “Programmed”-era Lethal?
Do you by any chance happen to know about the Colorado, U.S. metal band named Leviathan and its 1991 self-titled EP?
Even though all these bands have their own personality, in my view, they have one thing in common: they prioritize high-quality melodic metal songs above all. The school from which these bands come has taught them that you write songs for yourself but you also write songs so that other people can hear them and connect with them.
Artizan’s melodic heavy metal does not sound like any of those bands. (Well, it does sound a bit like the Leviathan 1991 EP, but there is a very good explanation for that, as I will tell you in a minute.)
Before going any further, let me just tell you now: If melodic heavy metal is a genre that you follow, I recommend Artizan to you as highly as possible because Artizan sounds “practically perfect in every way.”
When it comes to traditional heavy metal, once I determine that there are no major problems (or things that irritate me about the recording/band), I am looking for some specific things, such as level of professionalism/skill, songwriting (Do the songs connect with me?) and of course, the singing (some vocalists annoy me; some sound mediocre; some just don't sound good to me, even if they are famous metal millionaires). Artizan sounded incredibly good on a first listen, and soon with more listens I confirmed that the band has a special combination at work. As soon as the first song hits the ground it all sounds clear, professional, you can hear the instrumentation well, and everything sounds right. Song after song, the album's quality cannot be denied. All the songs sound like hits, meaning that any of these songs shows the quality of the band. Pick any of these songs and you will hear the class and elegance of Artizan. This album is produced by Jim Morris, which definitely helps to explain the quality of the recording. Jim Morris and the Morrisound name means a lot to many metal listeners, due to the long history of metal music associated with the name. By the way, there is also an edition of this album that has the bonus track “Come Sail Away” by Styx covered faithfully by Artizan.
While I’m at it now, I want to tell you about the previous Artizan album from 2013 “Ancestral Energy.” That is another album that I have heard a lot. It is another excellent, excellent album by the band. Of course, I have heard “Ancestral Energy” more than “The Furthest Reaches” because I have had more time with it. Both albums are total awesomeness of melodic metal. This now leaves me with a task: to investigate 2011’s “Curse of the Artizan” and 2009’s “Artizan” EP, which complete the Artizan discography.
Finally, the following information will be interesting to some people, perhaps to older metalheads from Colorado. Artizan’s singer (Tom Braden) and drummer (Ty Tammeus) are both former members of Leviathan from Colorado. The other members of Artizan are: Jon Jennings on bass, Bill Staley and Shamus McConney on guitars. Tom and Ty both played together on the Leviathan 1991 EP self-titled EP. Back in the day I read a positive review of that EP (probably in Metal Maniacs magazine) and I ordered the cd. Naturally, I still have the cd, which I received with a handwritten note from the band, and still listen to it.
Melodic metalheads, give Artizan a chance to charm you!
Below are some interesting videos of Artizan!
Artizan- Into The Sun
ARTIZAN - The Guardian Official
Styx Come Sail Away - Cover by Artizan
This is Artisan playing the old Leviathan song "Leviathan."
ARTIZAN – Leviathan
This is a video of Artizan working with producer Jim Morris.
ARTIZAN - The Furthest Reaches - Studio Video Part 1

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