George Prokopiou – Vocals
Kostas Konstantinidis – Guitars
Panos Priftis – Bass
Makis Tsamkosoglou – Keyboards, samples
George Boukaouris – Drums, percussion
Artifacts is the third album by Greek band Mother of Millions, and atmosphere is the name of the game here. It’s also something these folks seem to do rather well.
Their sound is an interesting one, not changing a great deal over the course of the album, but bringing in influences from the progressive, alternative and even post- spectrums of heavy music, all to create something palpably atmospheric. Modern efforts from Katatonia and Anathema are the most immediate comparisons to leap to mind, or even Swallow the Sun during some of the heavier sections. It bears that same vaguely mournful quality, with just enough hints of something more stirring. Everything is wrapped up in a swirling, ethereal coating, like an ominous mist, gradually revealing more as the album is explored, and with occasional bursts of something brighter or heavier to puncture the gloomy malaise.
During the more cerebral parts, of which there are plenty, it can also call recent Anathema or Solstafir works to mind with its post-rock ambience: just listen to the way the vocals blend so smoothly with the minimalist musical background in “Artefact”. That emotive work can even stray into post-space rock territory not dissimilar to Atoma’s Skylight album, such as in “Soma” or “Amber”, which feel like an ethereal choir lifting the listener up into some higher plane. It makes for a very nice contrast when the heavier guitar parts press up against this gentle, cosmic world.
“Soma” and “Anchor” both really master the hypnotic quality the band is going for, and it’s hard not to find yourself getting lost in them. The latter takes a slightly heavier approach, anchoring (no pun intended, honestly) itself on a harder riff at times, but pulling off much the same effect regardless.
And the ominous feeling evoked here is represented nowhere better than in “Cinder”. The track slowly builds while the rumble of the bass and the deliberately off-putting lilting of the guitar layer atop one another, rising to the more optimistic finishing section.
All this praise aside, it does feel like the album would benefit from some more distinct, stand-out moments. A greater focus on dynamics could go a long way toward holding the listener’s attention. Still, this is clearly well-crafted music throughout, even if the moments of being properly enraptured can hopefully be more frequent next time around.