|Review: Factory of Art - The Tempter|
Label: CCP Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: March 24, 2021
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)
Factory of Art were among the legions of Metal bands that began in the '90s and quietly released albums until breaking up after over a decade of existence. They seem to have reformed a couple of years ago, which explains why I received a promo for their second and final full-length, The Tempter, by their manager despite the fact that it came out nearly 20 years ago. From what I can tell, there aren't currently any publicly announced plans for a new album or even a reissue of this one, so it seems odd to me that they decided to send this my way rather now than when there's something new to announce. Hell, the promo in question was just a playlist on YouTube, so they don't even seem to have a way of getting material directly from them yet.
But enough about that, let's get to the album proper. The Tempter works in a vein of U.S. Progressive Metal that finds itself somewhere between the smooth melodies of mid-period Fates Warning and the percussive heaviness of Nevermore. The songwriting is fairly direct, with the complexity coming in the tight musicianship that ranges from shimmering, arhythmic guitar melodies to chugging riffs and pummeling heaviness, complete with solid vocals that sound vaguely like Ray Alder if he had a German accent. That makes this album sound great, but while there are some killer moments, as on the opener "Story of Pain" and the instrumental "Temple of Doom", there's also a lot of repetitive songwriting that holds those moments back, leading to an album that really starts to drag over its hour-long runtime. This isn't helped by bland vocal lines that are occasionally interrupted by harsher tough guy vocals that sound really silly and out of place.
This appears to be a concept album, but the lyrics seem to have suffered from translation issues that muddy the story a bit. From what I gather, it's basically a poor man's retelling of Operation: Mindcrime, starring an addict who gets hooked on a drug that makes him believe he's a god. It involves a cult, he has a love interest, and I think he dies at the end, but I'm not too sure about any of that, and the lyrics that do make sense are clunky at best.
On the one hand, I can understand why this band flew under the radar, as they weren't doing anything new in a style that wasn't getting a lot of attention at the time. On the other hand, this album is just good enough that I'd be curious to hear what another album would sound like, as a bit more variety to the songwriting and better vocal lines could make them into something great. For now, if you're looking for some decent old-school Progressive Metal, then you can do much worse than Factory of Art.
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