Artificial Black is a Philadelphia-based rock quintet that serves as a songwriting collaborative and high-powered performance vehicle. While their music could be described loosely as "contemporary hard rock", one listen to their debut self-titled CD (released in May 2007) reveals that their influences span the widest array of genres (pop, blues, metal, punk). Each of the band members is an accomplished songwriter, and their distinctive writing styles are illustrated across the inaugural CD's ten tracks. The focal point for the band's performances is it's vocal efforts, specifically those demonstrated by lead vocalist Alex Muzyka. He has the ability to mobilize his vocal chambers effectively: from soulful inflections to gritty projections and all points in-between. Alex serves as the heart of the band. So if Alex is AB's heart, then John Karp and Mark McCarty (guitars and backing vocals) are it's body. The two have complementary playing styles: John has a bluesy, airy approach to his lead and rhythm performances, while Mark brings a high-octane crunch and searing lead technique to the group. Their performances are rarely in total unison; rather, the guitar arrangements offer plenty of opportunities for counterpoint: in terms of both performance and tone. A.J. Mee (bass and backing vocals) often considered the brains behind the band, has a bass style that not only lays the foundation for the group's performances, but also often carries the principle rhythms and melodies of the songs. A.J. also serves as a "utility-player", providing additional capabilities on other assorted instruments as well as harmonizing with Alex on several key tracks. Danny Hummel (drums and percussion) acts as the backbone of the ensemble, and is a significant contributor to the band's performances. Danny is a drummer's drummer; a rock solid timekeeper who adds touches of personality, dynamics and styled technique. The band's nucleus formed in 2004 and decided to combine their songwriting efforts into a single unit. Each had performed together and separately in a variety of different ensembles over the years, and the jump to a new band was an easy leap to make. From Mark's "No Answers" (an upbeat composition about growing into adulthood), Alex and John's "B-O-B" (a groove about a laid-back approach to life's everyday problems), and A.J.'s "Despair" (a personal confession about coping with clinical depression in a marriage), their music avoids cliché while still resonating with audiences everywhere. And no, the band's name doesn't mean anything in particular; it just sounds really cool.
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