Sunday, November 17, 2013
Psyclon Nine : Order of the Shadow Act 1
This is the San Fran band's final album, so there's no second act. I did not give these guys a shot until, clicking around on Spotify one day because I had had always assumed them to sound like they looked which is a bunch of pretty boys from Vampirefreaks.com, and lumped them in with the other bands from the Myspace era like Motionless in White. While the black metal tag gets thrown around a lot with these guys, I think it is safe to say that regular readers here who know their metal will all confer this is not black metal. It is pretty decent industrial metal, ignoring the fact this sort of thing died with Fear Factory. They wail on into a vacuum and some how managed to not sound like dated mall metal.
They pick where they left off on "We the Fallen" the syncopation is a tad heavier on the opening track. The screechy vocals are a static layer over the dense chug. They avoid most of the radio clichés the genres forefather's used in terms of hooks, though the call and response on the verse of "Suffer Well" has echoes on Marilyn Manson to it. But this type of smarter song writing is a welcome departure from the vocalist doing variation of the same pattern like the previous album. The song crescendos into several wrathful cheers.
The trash tinged "Glamour Through Debris" delivers a riff that reminds me of the more metallic moments from Front Line Assembly during the 90's. It breaks down into an apocalyptic drum march and builds up using restraint rather than just going for the throat again. The album sounds great and the production is just what they need. The machine like white noise at the beginning of "Use Once and Destroy" transitions nicely into the fuzzed out synth of the verse. The songs are a lot catchier than what I have heard from the band previous to this release, they could use a slightly wider dynamic range , as aggression seems to be the only color they are painting these songs with most of the time. The exception to this rule comes by way of " the Saint and the Valentine" where they switch over to an acoustic guitar and clean vocals for the verse, not unlike Stabbing Westward and use the soft to loud formula. It's done effectively and provides a more melodic balance the album needs.
From the static "Remains of Eden" buzzes to life in a way that remind me of Author & Punisher at first before the more familiar vocal cadence emerges. It is well executed because normally I require a hint of more melody but the robotic crunch keeps me listening. Though the songs drones at the half way mark, it still manages some cohesion as it tests my tolerance for noise.Which might be weird because Skinny Puppy is one of my favorite bands and they use a shade more abrasion on albums like Rabies.
The title track lingers on its intro almost two minutes before kicking into what is a fairly straight forward militant drive.The pulse to the beat in the final minutes of this one is more like overdriven edm, if you really want to count straws.This is probably the most dynamically flat song on the album but even then it's not half bad.
I like the coat of darkness that hangs over everything and it takes center stage on the more Skinny Puppy feeling of "Take My Hand While I Take My Life" that is one of my favorite songs on the album, I like the guitar melody haunting the chorus.While it's cluttered with noisy little interludes I'm not counting qas songs, since they are not taking up the space on my iPod, I'm sorry this is the bands last album as they are really growing as song writers , I'll round this one up to a 9.5.