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Psychomancer – Shards Of The Hourglass

Shards Of The Hourglass
by "Der Bärtige Mann" Gareth Beams at 30 November 2019, 11:05 PM

Michigan City’s own, PSYCHOMANCER have released their first Full-Length album since they reunited in 2013. Since then they have also released an EP, “Inject the Worms” and appeared on a Split with PITCHFORK, both were released in 2015. Therefore, this is the first album in twelve years, since “Butchered”. Have they nailed a return in form? Let us find out…

The Unsullied” kicks off the album with a decent buildup. The vocals are clear enough to follow; their pace is set at a good speed to match the melodies set from the instrumentalists. The overall balance progresses well with different styles thrown in to add depth to the song. Good effort from the band to start things off.  There are even some technical skills on show, not for long, but to tease. “Hell's Venom” has an even better buildup. The vocals come out and the melody truly kicks in. This one will get heads banging and feet tapping, easily. The band have gelled their skills and sound together brilliantly. The balance of the song is kept so tight that the band form as one. In the final third, the band really come into their element with a great jam from the instrumentalists mixed with screams adding a great depth to an already fantastic song.

Red Poetry” takes a more progressive start and buildup; it’s a good change, mixing things up this early into the album. If you heard this song only, you would think you’d be listening to a Prog Death Metal band. Its balance is kept inline perfectly. The pace has obviously been taken back into the lower gears, more Sludge levels, but the band use this to their advantage very nicely. Vocally, the choice to slow everything down work to stir the melody to great success.  Not a bad filler song if the pace needed to be broken down. “As Your Vital Signs Decline” picks up the pace again with a frenzied start. Vocals have not sped up much, but they control the song so well. There are some great melodies building up in this song, more technical play to entice us to continue listening. Solid move.

Faded Scars Return to Bleed” has slowed the album pace down again, not as slow as “Red Poetry” as this one gradually picks up the pace, not into the frenzied Thrash styles, more Death Metal, but it is done flawlessly. This song is darker than the rest and the depths it goes to add a new aspect for the album. This one is a different kind of sound we’ve heard on the album, but it’s a great sound and it shows the band can mix things up and do so successfully. “The Castigator” Is back to the more used sound of the album, a lot more aggression shown here, vocals taking the balance through the gears. As it’s a shorter song, there aren’t as many changes, if any in the overall balance, but these guys play to their strengths.

Deto-Nation” continues the aggressive stance from “The Castigator”. The melody is ticking over nicely. The pace hits high points and although it does slowdown in parts of the song, the overall balance form doing so, is kept in place. The melody works well in progressing styles of Death and old school Thrash Metal into a blend that works. This song shows off technical skills from the band to transition between styles. Could even class this in to Melodic Death territories.  “Myrmidons”  has a solid start with the melody being broken by the screams. The styles used are hard to pinpoint as to exactly what they are going for. The mix of styles works to create a solid melody that will keep heads banging. This song clearly has less attention to vocals, but that’s because they are from Brad the guitarist, a nice idea to mix it up, not sure it would work for an entire album, but it’s a new depth for the album.

MK Ultra” back to the more accustom vocal styles and buildup stance that has filled the album. The pace is not as fast as at the start of the album, but the melody put together works nonetheless. The feel of the song is slower, more Sludge again, but this also feels like the album is coming to a close, which it is, but that’s not something you always want from the songs so late into the album. “Shards of the Hourglass” is the final song of a great album. The buildup is slow to start before vocals kick in. The pace is frantic to start off, slow and then sped up, losing all balance to the song, but it still works. As this is a longer song, you expect the styles to change a few times. The acoustic guitar from Duston is a nice touch. The mix of styles could maybe have had longer for the acoustic, but the melody to follow is brilliant. This song is ticking over nicely.

A good return from PSYCHOMANCER. They blend styles together to create their own sounds and it works. Will be good to see how they progress these sounds in the future.

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

4 Star Rating

1. The Unsullied
2. Hell's Venom
3. Red Poetry
4. As Your Vital Signs Decline
5. Faded Scars Return to Bleed
6. The Castigator
7. Deto-Nation
8. Myrmidons
9. MK Ultra
10. Shards of the Hourglass
Duston Bullard – Bass, Vocals (lead), Guitars (acoustic) on "Shards of the Hourglass"
Corey "Pickles" Blackstad – Drums, Keyboards on "Faded Scars Return to Bleed"
Brad "Bravis" Heidorn – Guitars & Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on "Myrmidons"
Record Label: Orchestrated Misery Recordings


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Edited 07 July 2022

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