If you have ever wondered what Shoegazer Metal would sound like, look no further than PIQAIA on their debut album Artifact. Sounding remarkably like a mash-up between Parallels-era Fates Warning and Further-era Flying Saucer Attack (compare album art and song titles from the PIQAIA release and the latter), Artifact delivers a unique package of five long songs, seamlessly blending ethereal vocals and washes of sound with angular and sometimes furious guitar breaks. The songs often lean more to the Shoegaze side than they do the Metal side, so if you tend to like your Metal on the extreme edges of the spectrum you are likely to be disappointed the title cut wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Creation label sampler in the mid-nineties. “Echo” crosses over on the heavier side briefly during a stretch or two of rough, growly vocals, but these soon give way to clean stylings intermixed with the high harmonies. “Landscapes” starts out with a Prog Metal workout, slides into a softer section a third of the way through, and then slowly escalates into another jagged Progressive Metal guitar fugue. It’s a very interesting clash of styles, almost as if half the band were fans of Ride and the other half worshipped Dream Theater, with neither side giving quarter until their favorite elements are interjected into the songs.
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