|ojotigre||Fecha: Jueves, 2013-10-31, 9:56 AM | Mensaje # 1|
|THOUGHT CHAMBER - Psykerion (2013) |
THOUGHT CHAMBER is a new name to me, but after listening their second, just released CD "Psykerion" I am rushed to catch their debut as well,
as this is terrific piece of work close to masterpiece.
The masterminds behind this awesome combo are guitarist, keyboard player
& composer Michael Harris (a '90s Shrapnel Records skilled alumni),
vocalist Ted Leonard (also in Enchant, Spock's Beard and Affector),
Bill Jenkins (also in Enchant) on keyboards, Jeff Plant on bass and Mike
Haid on drums.
"Psykerion" is a concept album drawing together elements of melodic prog
metal, classic prog and acoustic rock. The concept behind "Psykerion"
as described by Michael Harris, the composer and chief lyricist is; "somewhere between sci-fi and a human drama, and musically somewhere between the furious and the tranquil".
Musically, these great musicians deliver melodic, hook laden progressive
metal with sizzling instrumental performances and catchy vocal
harmonies. There are 16 tracks and most of them being on the shorter
side, and the result as a whole is just stellar.
Opener "Inceptus" kicks off with solid drums, space flight level lead
electric guitars, signpost bass and launching keyboards before the real
rumble of drums, the grinding engines of the lead electrics and the
soaring keys take off. Ignition and lift – off.
"Exodus" begins with a spacey zero gravity keyboard sound that will give
you that effortlessly floating feeling immediately. But prepare for
thundering drums, roaring guitars, soaring diamond keys, heavy bass and
plenty of space atmospherics.
When you hear some great Geddy Lee level bass guitar you know you will
have made it to "Psykerion: The Question". Thought Chamber waits until
this third track to unleash the dynamic vocals of Ted Leonard. His
singing will take you back to Steve Walsh's vocals from some of the
classics of the band Kansas.
Then acoustic guitar welcomes us to "In the Words of Avakus". Despite
the beauty of the acoustic guitar and soft keys, everything is not so
easy. There's Rush and some Dream Theater urgency all over, but with a
"Light Year Time" opens like a great Kansas/Yes match; full of those
deep organ keys and deep bass you remember, and of course Leonard's
Walsh-like vocals. The highs he reaches will bring back so many magic
moments of Kansas' past. One of the best tracks, full of emotion and
great vocals. The keyboard interlude in the middle of the song will take
you back to classic Styx, but the heavy electric guitar will bring you
back to the Thought Chamber.
"Kerakryps" is plenty of sci-fi synths, excellent cymbal work, deep
punctuating bass and solid drums flow with the metal guitars and Fates
Warning-like sounds filling the air. Michael Harris, the chief composer,
whose father is a jazz musician, definitely displays his influence
during "The Black Hole Lounge", a little over a minute instrumental
But the power eventually transitions back to a heavier rocker on
"Circuits of O.D.D.", full of some dramatic keyboards reminiscent of
Jordan Rudess and others as the bass and lead guitars build momentum.
"Behind the Eyes of Ikk" opens with flashy electronics and atmospheric
effects that must be heard with headphones to appreciate their full
effect, they will otherwise freak out the neighbours if played loud on
good speakers. The Wakeman inspired keys will stun and amaze while the
metal grinder guitars fill the air with power.
Ocean waves and soft pianos takes you to the "Isle of Bizen" accompanied
by a Yes-esque acoustic guitar melody which helps lift spirits even
higher. This time Leonard has you thinking Walsh singing a Yes classic.
After all, this is a 'thought chamber' and why not drift a little.
"Xyrethius II" opens with those dark but grandiose eerie keys, before a
soaring lead electric guitar solo rocks through the atmosphere. Next,
"Recoil" opens with cool lead electric guitar and searing violin. The
power drums, heavy bass return, with more excellent keyboards that will
just lift your mind out of space.
"Breath of Life" is a wonderful mood altering soft guitar and deep
melotronic/organ keyed track that will further relax the mind and body.
Then Leonard explodes with some of his most powerful vocals on the
album, and the synthesizers and keys that follow are great.
"Transcend" is the epic track at 9:39. And by epic I do mean they pull
out all the stops. The opening key and lead guitar riff will stay with
you long after the track ends. This is the best song on the album; it is
full of everything that has been building up so far on the CD.
Leonard's vocals, the meaty bass, the powerful lead electric guitar and
those pulsing drums. It's all there and with no holds barred. They add
acoustic guitar only pushing this track further over the top.
"Planet Qwinkle" starts with fine atmospherics and that powerful deep
bass, before the dancing lead electric guitar takes off with drums in
tow. Another dramatic and full of sonic power instrumental joined by
keys and some acoustic guitar as well, akin Kansas.
"Inner Peace" ends Psykerion with remnants of Rush's 2112's Overture,
mixed well with some Keith Emerson-like ELP extracts. Behold the
As I said at the beginning, "Psykerion" is close to masterpiece,
blending progressive rock & modern prog-metal with classics like
Kansas, Rush, Yes and Dream Theater. In this terrific piece of art you
will find uptempo numbers, exquisite melodic quiet pieces and awesome
short instrumental passages / interludes.
The sound, even on the slower moments, is tight and 'rock pulsating', so
do not expect a steamy prog nebula here. "Psykerion" is Rock. Of the
highest quality I'd say.
Leonard is really on a roll these days with Spock's Beard and although I
never liked Enchant too much, he is awesome here, without a doubt one
of the best works of his career. Harris once again shows what a truly
remarkable musician he is, delivering some stunning guitar work and
meshing wonderfully with the blazing keyboard stylings of Jenkins. Let's
not forget the top notch rhythms from Plant & Haid, with the
bassist laying down some nimble bass lines.
I advise headphones for "Psykerion". After all it is a thought chamber,
right? You will be better able to appreciate all the time and effort
devoted to the album mastering by Tom Size (Aerosmith, Mr. Big).
However, roaring down the freeway you will probably get just as much
A Mandatory Listening.
01 - Inceptus
02 - Exodus
03 - Psykerion: The Question
04 - In the Words of Avakus
05 - Light Year Time
06 - Kerakryps
07 - The Black Hole Lounge
08 - Circuits of O.D.D.
09 - Behind the Eyes of Ikk
10 - Isle of Bizen
11 - Xyrethius II
12 - Recoil
13 - Breath of Life
14 - Transcend
15 - Planet Qwinkle
16 - Inner Peace
Ted Leonard - Lead Vocals
Michael Harris - Guitars, Keyboards, Harmony Vocals
Jeff Plant - Bass
Bill Jenkins - Keyboards
Mike Haid - Drums
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