Art Nation - 'Transition'

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Art Nation - 'Transition'

A massively brilliant album that no one should ignore.

Art Nation's latest release once more reinforces the fact that as of late the best in Melodic Rock music is coming out of Sweden. 'Transition' marks the third album in the band's lifespan (and second since signing to major label Sony Music), albeit with three new members joining the fold. Along with two other members being replaced beforehand, that much turnover would otherwise mark the demise of many a group and yet the remaining members – founder/vocalist Alexander Strandell and guitarist Johan Gustavsson – were more than up to the challenge.

Not only did they recruit some massively talented musicians in Sam Soderlindh (guitar), Richard Sward (bass) and Linus Thomsson (drums), they deliver a record that ostensibly epitomises the genre. The tracks are supremely melodic, and they balance it with just enough intensity that will equally satisfy those who lean more towards the AOR spectrum of Melodic Rock as well as those who prefer a more Melodic Metal approach.

The songs flow seamlessly from one to the next, and each has its own character and attitude. Beginning with one of the heaviest tracks, the propulsive 'Fallen Worlds', all ten songs are wonderfully crafted and are performed equally well. The "secret sauce" of the band are the keyboards, while the clever use of futuristic sounds create an atmospheric flair which adds depth and complexity to the arrangements.

The group's true commercial potential is realised throughout the entire release, but this fact is none better illustrated than with tracks like 'Infected' and 'The Cure' which both feature superb choruses. They also hint at some Prog Metal via the album closer, the ironically titled 'Open'.

My only criticism is directed at the record label where they failed to include any sort of Electronic Press Kit along with the release. Although not having any backstory certainly helps eliminate any preconceived notions about the music, it is nevertheless always welcome when it comes to a band like Art Nation with whom I am not familiar.

The lack of press kit information aside, this is a massively brilliant album that no one should ignore. Finally, the stunning cover artwork is absolutely one example of how you can sometimes actually judge a book by its cover. The fact that 'Transition' is showing up on both my current issue Top 5 and Best Of 2019 playlists is undeniable proof as to the sheer excellence of this release.

Brent Rusche

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