Just because you’ve never heard of them doesn’t mean Art Far Away didn’t release one of the best debut records to come out in recent times, and also one of the best albums you’re likely to hear from any band at any stage of their career.
The sound of 2014’s Verisimilitude & The Second Estate is tough to pin down. Art Far Away are certainly a progressive act, and it’s certainly a progressive record. Yet it’s equally certain that the Swedish five-piece don’t fit the traditional “progressive” metal mold. Perhaps their closest point of reference would be the world of prog-death, as there are plenty of moments that sound reminiscent of Gojira (not least the initial, rolling riff of “Gentlemen’s Club”) and their use of vocoded vocals and more general, spaced-out atmosphere can’t help but bring Cynic to mind. However, the vocals are mostly shouted rather than growled, which—along with Adam Dahlman’s often frantic and highly-emotional delivery—seems to align them more with post-hardcore circles. There are also regular bursts of frantic mathcore, reminiscent of The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more than a few moments that distinctly bring to mind the similarly-obtuse, Melbourne grindcore outfit A Million Dead Birds Laughing. It’s an eclectic mix to be sure. Yet there’s never a moment on this meticulously crafted debut that seems inappropriate or out of place.
Verisimilitude was followed up by last year’s five-track EP Ghost Dancers & The Absolutes of Dolour. This second release stripped away a lot of the more extreme components of the band’s sound, in favor of a more overtly emotional and electronically-driven approach (see: “Rabbit’s Hole”). Ghost Dancers doesn’t carry quite the same impact as their’s formidable debut, and next to nothing has been heard from them since. Whether Art Far Away are ever able to deliver a worthy, full-length follow-up to their phenomenal debut remains to be seen. Either way, that record stands as one of the most severely underrated releases in recent memory, and perhaps one of the most accomplished debuts to ever flirt with the realms of heavy, progressive music, and it’s a real shame that only a handful of people have ever heard them.
Both Verisimilitude & The Second Estate and Ghost Dancers & The Absolutes of Dolour are available to listen to/purchase over on Art Far Away’s Bandcamp page, so be sure to head over there and check them out. At the time of writing, the band have less than 800 likes on their facebook page. So, if you like what you hear, it’d be cool to show them some support over there as well.