Written by Noktorn
Generically great - 82%
It's interesting how, over time, genres that are based off the creations of a few specific artists really end up sounding nothing like them. For instance: take your average death or black metal band. You know they sound familiar, but do they really sound like anyone in particular? No, because the genre has been whittled down to a set of specific elements that have nothing to do with the things that made the original bands so unique. Artep is one of those new black metal bands who definitely sound like SOMETHING, even if it's not something you could readily bring to mind. So, yes, this is a band that rests firmly within the established boundaries of black metal. But is anything more really needed as long as the music is good?
In my estimation, no, there isn't. Artep makes good black metal. Very good black metal, in fact. Yes, it doesn't do anything new. But nothing new is intended to be made through this. It's clearly music that is designed to work well within its aesthetic. Artep are like an updated version of Dark Funeral: fast, vicious black metal that is essentially a celebration of the genre over all other things. The music is a good deal like that band, with the high speed, tremolo picked nature of the songs combined with a sense of Satanic grandiosity and arrogance that Dark Funeral has mastered. Some influence from Dissection and Throne Of Ahaz are also present in some of the riffing; perhaps even some Emperor. And that's what this is all about: the riffs. Almost all tremolo picked, all vicious, all traditionally black metal. Every single one is solid, and not a single one was just inserted to pad out the songs. Even the slower sections are done correctly, with heavy, nicely sustained chords that segue into the frantic blasting just right.
Production is good: more definition on the bass drums could be used, and perhaps a bit less reverb on the vocals, but for a debut demo, this is about as good as it gets. There's the occasional foray into more varied territory: clean guitar interlude here, bit of ambiance there. But, as it should be, the emphasis always draws back to the brutal, speedy black metal that we know and love. No keyboards, no clean female vocals, no elaborate compositions, and most importantly, NO BULLSHIT. The songs are simple and raw, based around a set of solid riffs that get sawed into your brain through a flurry of snare and tremolo. It's the way it should be. I've probably said a thousand times in my reviews that originality does not in any way necessarily equal quality, but it's a point that needs to be stated multiple times. Artep is unoriginal. Artep is very good. End of discussion.