Richard G. : Should a label be allowed to influence the creative process? This is an interesting ethical question in the music industry to which people in metal are usually opposed. With The End Of All Reason and their new, self-released album 'Artifacts' we encounter an interesting case supporting the other viewpoint that a product might actually profit when a label would have some influence.
Main problem here is that if TOAR think that the average metal head can listen and enjoy rather clinically produced melodic death metal for 64 minutes on end, they either have a very high opinion of themselves, or they are completely out of touch with their target audience. Without a doubt 'Artifacts' would have been a much better album if somebody (for example a label representative) would have posed any of the following questions. "Don't you think that riff has been repeated often enough by now?” "Don't you think this song is kinda done by now? Maybe adding even more parts is not necessary.” "Maybe somebody else in the band also knows how to grunt? It might yield some more variation.”
And these questions just touch upon a couple of the reasons why the seven, eight or even twelve minute compositions on offer here do not work. It is exactly why a Dark Tranquillity record usually lasts around 40 minutes and why you have to be Opeth in order to make songs of such proportions a success. For sure TOAR know how to hold their instruments and they have a certain vision, but at the moment their compositions lack dynamics and discerning elements that might make it possible to compel listeners to listen to their songs for so long.