Part of perhaps the most growing power metal scene on the globe, Age of Artemis aim to prove themselves a tour de force in Brazilian power metal with their third full length. Titled Monomyth, Age of Artemis take the chance here to extend their sound beyond what has been established on their first two albums. There’s refined melody and sweetness in equal measure to the rough edges and slight aggression. Simply put, Monomyth exceeds expectations in regards to its predecessors. What’s of note is how the album is so equally strong throughout, opened by powerhouse The Calling, with its dense guitar work and intricate keyboard splatters throughout. It follows through swift power metal tracks like Endless Fight and heavier stuff like Lightning Strikes, and ends up with What Really Matters and Where Love Grows, the two best tracks on the album. Especially the melodics and the chorus of the former have that sweet tinge that adds contrast to the rough cut edges on much of the album.
Of course, there’s a downside and it’s more of an annoyance than an actual flaw in the music; an unnecessary decision to fill out time. I get that the bookending narrations that open and close the album are meant as some sort of rug to tie the room together, but it’s just not working. It feels only misplaced, with the narration sounding stupid instead of the intended profoundness. Those could easily be cut away, as well as vapid ballad A Great Day to Live that closes the album. Thusly shrunk, the album would have clocked in at just under 50 minutes and been a tighter, less bloated listen. At times they would also have done well to crank up the guitars a notch, let them take the lead they were made to take, and keep some parts instrumental. The intro of Lightning Strike is a sinner in both regards; topped by more stupid narration, the guitars are crammed in the back, even when they’re pretty sweet and should be setting the song off on a high note.
The musicianship on Monomyth is knuckle cracking goodness; perhaps most notably in the guitar work care of Gabriel Soto and new recruit Jeff Castro (ex- Dark Avenger). The collaboration is a thing of beauty in the gritty riffing that sweeps effortlessly into melodic leads and soaring solos, like the intro of Where Love Grows or the emotional blend of balladry and hard cut power of Endless Fight. The sound leaning towards the progressive tendencies, feeling distinctly Brazilian, is not too far away from the likes of Angra at times, whereas the melodic leads and heavy riffing reminds of Vandroya and Dark Avenger, and with this album Age of Artemis are rightly proving to take a place among Brazil’s power metal forces to be reckoned with. It’s not an immediate hit, but the cohesive band effort is what makes Monomyth their strongest album yet, and in its strongest points they showcase flawless progpower.
Standout tracks: The Calling, What Really Matters, Where Love Grows