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Intruder – Psycho Savant (Reissue) Award winner

Intruder
Psycho Savant (Reissue)
by Santiago Puyol at 10 January 2021, 12:26 PM

And we are arriving at the our final destination reviewing the 2020 reissues by Technical Thrash band INTRUDER. Previously, we checked their second album "A Higher Form Of Killing" and follow-up EP "Escape From Pain". Now it’s time to check their third and final album so far, "Psycho Savant". Through this 8 tracks, the band has fully completed their evolution from groovy Thrash Metal with a Technical edge to proggy, more dynamic Tech-Thrash.

"Face Of Hate" starts the album with a slow intro of guitar stabs that gives way to more traditional Thrashy rhythms. The track goes through several tempo changes and features a shifting structure, being indeed very proggy and groovy. Arthur Vinett lays down some complex and tasteful, yet slightly dissonant soloing. It is also a mostly instrumental track, with very few vocal lines, centered on the band’s robust musicianship.

Gorgeous lead guitar lines and a face-melting solo introduce album highlight "Geri’s Lament (When) ". James Hamilton vocals sound better than ever in this extremely catchy track. It gets into a nasty groove around 4:30, adding some cowbell even! And things speed up until we are in Thrashy territory once again by the end of the track. The lyrics give a voice to the elderly trapped insider geriatric homes, with some truly tragic lines like “look around tell me what you see - pain, suffering, and misery. Lonely people who've been locked away with no desire to live another day”.

Beautiful and melancholic acoustic guitar changes the mood on "The Enemy Within". The intro gives way to a military march rhythm and powerful, tech-y riffing. This song makes great use of gang vocals, as it usually is with this band. John Pieroni has a really fun time behind the drumkit, being the driving force behind the many changes of the track. It flows perfectly into the next track.

"It’s A Good Life" is a gang vocal-driven Thrash’n’Roll banger. Even though it retains the complexity of previous tracks, it has a strong Hard Rock swagger that sets it apart. It is an entertaining track for sure, with a cynical, tongue-in-cheek approach lyrical delivery. It does that typical INTRUDER time signature change going from 4/4 to 6/8 for a fun, funky middle section. Todd Nelson’s bass plays a huge part in setting the mood for the track. "Invisible" follows, a chugging and quite straightforward Thrash song. It is quite possible the most direct track of the set, even if it retains the band’s Technical edge.

Slow, almost Doomy riffing paired with complex drum patterns makes for an interesting intro to "Traitor To The Living". It is the longest song on the album being just short of eight minutes. The track is another highlight, featuring playful, slightly syncopated riff building. Greg Messick and Pieroni play each other off in an interesting way. At times, the rhythmic guitar and the drums echo one another while they play against each other at another times, giving the track an underlying rhythmic tension. This is followed by "Final Word", another proggy, thrashy banger. It is the shortest track on the album, being about four minutes and a half in length. A bit of a palate cleanser before the grand finale.

Closer "N.G.R.I." comes at full force with its groovy yet technical intro. Manic drumming and riffing, paired with wailing vocals by Hamilton. There’s a slight Psychedelic Rock feel to the track due to some guitar and vocal effects, mostly production choices that fit the topic at hand – "N.G.R.I." is short for “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity”. It features a bouncy and sinister yet silly instrumental middle section that perfectly captures the mood.

Psycho Savant takes INTRUDER into a new formula of lengthy and dynamic compositions with impressive musicianship. It is clearly a huge improvement to the band’s previous releases, building on their strengths. Any rough edges have been polished and the transitions between sections in the songs work marvelously. No unnecessary noodling or repetition. Paired with the strong, solid songwriting there are improved production values, less noisy even if it retains some rawness and grit.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Face Of Hate
2. Geri’s Lament (When)
3. The Enemy Within
4. It’s A Good Life
5. Invisible
6. Traitor To The Living
7. Final Word
8. N.G.R.I.
Lineup:
James Hamilton – Vocals
Arthur Vinett – Guitars
Greg Messick – Guitars
Todd Nelson – Bass
John Pieroni – Drums
Record Label: Lusitanian Music (Grand Sounds PR)
     


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