Genre: traditional metal
At first listen "Curse of the Artizan" might sound like good old traditional heavy metal with galloping guitars, guitar harmonies, bobbing drums and base, and Geddy Lee-inspired vocals. And in a way, it is. And it is pretty good, too.
Most, of the tracks are straight ahead, but with inbuilt mildly progressive elements, such as rhythmically slightly off bridges, a couple of odd time signatures, long acoustic intros in a couple of tracks and so on. In a way, Artizan, at their most progressive, remind me a bit of acts like Maiden, Priest, early Fates Warning and early Queensrÿche jumbled together - and that ain't a bad thing.
Artizan are obviously good musicians, and the album is characterized by professionalism all the way through. Performing lead guitarists Tony Smotherman and Hermanus Rombouts deserve to be mentioned because of their impressive and catchy classic metal style solos, which add a dimension of epicness to the album.
Also, vocalist Tom Braden makes an important contribution with his voice (which sounds like a less acrobatic combination of Geddy Lee and Claudio Sanchez) and the way he delivers the catchy chorus lines (check out "Rise", "Man in Black" and "Fading Story"). It may take a couple of listens to get used to his voice, but, when it clicks, you can't really imagine this album with any other frontman.
"Curse of the Artizan" is a catchy traditional metal album with emphasis on melody, and should appeal to fans of Maiden, Priest, early Fates Warning and the like.