Artifex Pereo‘s previous album, Ailments & Antidotes, was an excellent debut record, due in no small part to the vocals and impressive lyrics. After hearing the news that vocalist Evan Redmon had left the band, I was apprehensive about Time in Place, expecting a dip in form this time around. Thirty seconds of the album’s opener “No Stranger to Worry” is enough to dispel any fears and reveal why Tooth & Nail Records were so keen to sign the band for this release. New frontman Lucas Worley not only picks up where his predecessor left off, he adds even more quality to the band’s sound.
Time in Place is difficult to categorise in terms of genre; not quite heavy or aggressive enough to qualify as post-hardcore, but too musically complex to simply be an alternative rock record. What isn’t difficult to categorise is the sublime quality of this album. Not only are we treated to superb vocals that move from soothing croons to impassioned shouts and soaring melodies, this is complemented by challenging musicianship that showcases the full spectrum of the band’s ability. The guitar work is intricate and probing, weaving ambient lead lines with ever-changing rhythms; the drums are powerful and dynamic, leading each track through multiple tempo and timing changes. The songs themselves range from hard-hitting, fast paced anthems to understated, piano-led ballads. Time in Place covers so many bases that it gives the album a huge shelf-life as the range of music on offer means no two listens are the same. No matter how many times you hear the album, something new catches your ear and excites you all over again.
What’s more impressive than the individual components is the synergy that Artifex Pereo has accomplished. Despite the dynamics on show, this never feels intrusive. Often, creating something impressive musically can create a barrier for the listener, as they aren’t able to “get into” the album as easily as they would a three-chord pop song. The beauty here is how the band has managed to use freeform song structures and interesting patterns while maintaining masses of groove and melody. Essentially they’ve created a perfect chocolate fudge cake with wholly organic food sources. Not only does it satisfy everyone’s simple desire for a great dessert, when the food critics dig into how it was made, they’ll even get excited about the ingredients.
Lyrically, Time in Place is also a triumph. Not only are they well written, they deal with concepts that are common to us all such as death, loneliness and existence. These concepts make it simple to relate the subject matters on hand, bringing you that much closer to the songs as a result. Kris Crummett‘s crisp, clean production is a perfect match as he not only marries together multiple layers into one cohesive package, but does this in a way that enables the listener to clearly hear each individual layer as well. This helps to cement Time in Place as a contender for one of the year’s best albums and I thoroughly look forward to hearing more from the band in the future.