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Psy:code – Persona Award winner

Psy:code
Persona
by Rachel Montgomery at 07 April 2020, 8:23 AM

PSY:CODE is a progressive, cosmic, shoe-gaze band with clear influences from goth and New Age scenes. Their fourth studio album “Persona” is a trance-like, artistic treat for fans of said genres, full of surprising elements and varied influences blended together in a unique way.
If you’re a fan of music that harkens back to 2000s screamo with heavy electronic elements, this album is for you. The opening track is an intense instrumental with progressive ambiance and an impressive juxtaposition between the high ambiance and the grunting bass. The screaming elements give the song a more contemporary feeling and tone, especially as they howl in the chorus like a choir. Again, your mileage may vary, but I personally enjoyed the overall sublime tone of the song mixed with the intensity.

The first few tracks have some really nice highlights throughout. “Deranged” features sludge bass and guitars are heavy in this song and they’re relentless throughout the intro. The instrumentation change comes with the vocals, when it switches to a cosmic synthesizer behind screaming vocals. The audible metaphor of “screaming in space” is really strong here. I also love the echoing chorus, which heightens the intensity of the song. The heavy drums in “Breathing Fire” give this wonderful energy to the song, combining punk rock back-beat with the overall contemporary scream-metal sensibility of the album. There are also surprises throughout the album.

I didn’t expect piano elements, but they show up in “Dark Days.” I love the proto-goth/post-punk elements of that songs and the vocals remind me of goth metal band PARADISE LOST. It’s one of my favourite songs off the album because it stands out in such a unique way while maintaining its cohesion with the rest of the album. The sudden snare ending is also a brilliant touch. Another surprising one was the beginning of “Til Evig Tid.” They turned the cosmic/metaphysical ambiance up to 11 and with the snare in the back, it reminded me of an intense ENIGMA track.

I wasn’t a fan of the screaming elements in “Demons Guide My Way,” it sounded too much like yelling, like it was stuck between screeching vocals and singing. Granted, once the echoing background vocals come in, it sounds better.  The closing track features rain ambiance and the low keys of the piano, creating a fitting, uniquely progressive outro. The whispers behind the vocals give it a haunting quality, as do the different higher-ranged vocals on this track. It’s soft and has a sense of finality to it that leaves you feeling calmer than you did before. It’s a beyond-satisfying conclusion and in my opinion, the highlight of the album.

Overall, the album preserves the same tone, but it’s never boring. The quality is intense and strangely hypnotic. Despite the screaming, the trance-like background effects increase my focus incredibly well. If you’re a fan of progressive metal, shoegaze, or more emotive works, this album is for you.

Songwriting: 10
Production: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Collide
2. Deranged
3. Breathing Fire
4. Aldrig
5. Dark Days
6. Demons Guide My Way
7. Til Evig Tid
8. Simplified
9. Keep On Pretending
10. Black Souls
11. Perfect Imperfection
12. Samme Vej
Lineup:
Schou - Vocals
SteiN - Guitar
JezpR - Guitar
Dag - Bass
Gøtsche - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 05 June 2020
 

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