“Peace has arrived my friends. And, oh, is it good.” So states local multi-instrumentalist, Brad Olsen, on his band site, artistsofwar.net. Peace, Or God As Machine is the second full-length album released under the Artists of War moniker. Peace…, the first of two planned concept albums, spans “the entirety of Earth’s history… leading to it’s [sic] ultimate destruction,” with “time travel and dimensional warping,” as well as “man’s relationship with technology and to the Self, isolation, and the power of love, atheism, omniscience, reincarnation and singularity” all factoring in telling this extremely ambitious story. Olsen also plans a graphic novel, Heavy Giant, to further explain and extend his “Project Peace” concept beyond the audio and into a visual medium. On Peace… Olsen employs a self-described “modern and progressive” heavy-metal style as the platform for his emotional saga. He lists Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Mastodon and Tool, among others, as influences.
To accomplish recording, Olsen, in role-playing mode, channeled three guises: The Dragon (guitars/vocals), Skullcrusher (drums, battering ram) and Dynamo (bass, cybernetic blade). Dragon exhibits mercurial guitar work when soloing, providing bright spots among the predominantly pedestrian mid-tempo main riffs. His raw, warbling vocal style, when not using effects, might best be called “contentious.” Skullcrusher works the kit without flash, and Dynamo anchors the bottom end.
Unfortunately, when these singular threads combine, the compositions never truly ignite or push into the “memorable” realm. Fleeting moments of brilliance appear throughout certain tracks, “Stone Ocean” and “Orion” providing the best examples, but the overwhelming mediocrity unceremoniously consumes them.
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