Before we begin
Kentucky’s three amigos of post-hardcore; have returned with the highly anticipated follow up to 2016s “in honesty”. In honesty was the band’s jump starter of a freshman release taking the familiar post-hardcore sound and accompanying it with raw emotion and intense lyricism. But with all that praise will Garion (vocals), Andrew (Bass), and Luke (guitar) revitalize and polish the sound they crafted or stumble on the way to the finish line. Well, let’s find out here in my review of “Color Restored”.
Track by Track
Track 1 – Runner (03:36)
THIS IS THE FUTURE OF ARTICA. Opening with an entrancing riff that is soon accompanied by a disembodied harmony. At this point it’s clear that honestly this isn’t “in honesty”. Leaving their post-hardcore roots they begin to dabble in the realms of Hard/Alternative Rock. Which is not a bad thing, this is by far one of if not the catchiest song the boys have released. Utilizing more pop inspired Rhyme schemes and patterns Artica has created the most accessible song with a bite out of Kentucky in a long while. All of this rhyme and edge culminates into one hell of chorus retaining the raw emotion Garion is known for while creating an almost anthemic feeling. This song is almost perfect; that almost not there because of something they did but because of something that’s missing. Starting at 02:09 the song begins a build up that just prepares you to scream your heart out at the drop. But that drop never comes because it just leads to the chorus, this itself isn’t awful but just feels kinda squandered.
Overall rating: 9/10
Track 2 – Color Restored (03:57)
This track returns to familiar grounds but with new shoes. Opening with a much more restrained instrumental and vocals; I began to become afraid that I was going to be listening to an “in honesty” B side. Which turned out to be partially true but in an unexpected positive way. And this “unexpected positive way” starts at 01:04 where the track kicks into high gear delivering a bounce and catchiness that displays how far this trio has matured as musicians. While it’s not the game changing “runner” this track does have a lot of replay value and is impossible to get out of your head.
Overall rating – 7/10
Track 3 – Cloak & Claw (03:39)
So before we dive in to the EPs lead single you need to know that I did review this before;
“Opening with a very energetic hard rock riff, quickly proclaiming that this is a revitalized Artica stepping up the energy and polish in comparison to 2016s “in honesty”. This is soon accompanied by one of the most powerful performances Garion has delivered thus far. In a very Jonny Craigesque fashion he trades articulation for power without sacrificing quality. This of course is off putting to some listeners but are very well received by even casual listeners of this subgenre. But outside of vocals and energy the entirety of this song is just groovy. With riffs like the one at 01:09 just make you want to move all without losing the gritt of the genre. This track delivers at many many levels and leaves me highly excited for “color restored”. “
for the most part my feelings on this track have remained the same. But my score has gone done, and not because of the track but because of the quality of the EP as a whole. While this track packs a hefty punch it lacks uniqueness, the track doesn’t do anything to make itself stand out compared to the rest of the track list.
Overall rating – 6/10
Track 4 – Idle Hands (03:38)
Opening with a disembodied harmony led by Garions subdued yet entrancing vocals, it’s obvious this is different from every other track in their discography. At 30 seconds the song transitions from ethereal floating to an impassioned cry. Crafting one of the catchiest and most powerful chorus I’ve heard in quite some time. But it isn’t until the last minute and a half of the song that it solidifies itself as extraordinary. Starting at 02:05 you get to hear Garions tortured higher range and hear his emotional pleas for nonexistence. But up to this point this song is just as diverse and fantastic as “Runner” but it’s what comes next that allows is to supersede every other track on the EP. Because unlike the first track “idle hands” capitalizes on it’s swell and at 02:46 all the sadness and energy explodes into anguish and anger with chaotic instrumentation and a passionate yell from Garion. Folks this is Artica.
Overall rating – 9.5/10
This is more than a step forward for Artica this is a leap into the future. Combining familiar sounds with new ideas this EP takes everything good on “in honesty” and amplifies it. With more growth and exploration by the next release Artica will be one of your favorite bands.
Least favorite track
Cloak & Claw
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