Art Nation – Transition (2019)

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Art Nation are a melodic rock band, based in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Founded in 2014, the band have released two albums previously, 2015’s Revolution and 2017’s Liberation.  Now in 2019, Art Nation have just delivered their third full length, the very solid, Transition.

As the album opens, Fallen Worlds instantly delivers lightning fast drumming, shredding guitars and layered symphonics, plus some great vocals from Alexander Strandell.  It’s a pretty good start, showing a lot of promise for what is to come.

Tick Tock has a huge bass line rumbling throughout a very accessible track.  It’s still metal, it’s just the kind of metal that a lot of people can enjoy.  Firefly is a little chunkier, using some interesting atmospherics to great effect.  Power metal can often all sound very similar, but Art Nation are quite original sounding.  Three tracks in, and I’m enthralled.

Although I’ve enjoyed each track so far, Infected provides the first definitive highlight.  There’s an epic feeling at play throughout, plus the catchy hook laden vocals are impossible not to sing along to.  A wonderfully understated guitar solo towards the tracks end is a great addition too.

The Cure opens softly with the sound of breathing, and some gentle piano.  A string section arrives along with the vocals, and we’re treated to a female voice joining Strandell here, with their two voices working in perfect harmony.  In just a touch over three minutes, it covers a lot of ground.

Galloping guitars and sci fi like effects are the order of the day for Not Alone, that and some fantastic work from the rhythm section.  The best thing about the songs on this album though, is they are all kept to around the three minute mark.  Often, this style of music can have a tendency to get a bit lengthy and self indulgent, but Art Nation seem to purposefully take the less is more approach, and that is the key to these songs appeal for me.

Who We Are makes use of some different vocal effects, while Blaze the Trail is fast paced and proves to be another high point of Transition for me.  Cracks in the Sky is upbeat and features possibly the best vocal performance of the album.

Open is, ironically, the albums close.  As far as album closers go, this is perfect in the context of Transition.  It’s like looking back through the albums highlights (save for the excellent female voice featured on The Cure).  At only thirty six minutes in length, this has been an easy and enjoyable listen experience.

Now it’s time for me to go and check out the back catalogue.

8/10

Shayne McGowan.

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