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Psycrence - A Frail Deception

A Frail Deception
by YngwieViking at 13 May 2014, 1:30 AM

Formed in Athens, the band PSYCRENCE saw the light of day in 2009, in December 2010 they released a self-produced demo EP entitled “Distance” which has received an excellent and very encouraging acclaim by the press and the fans alike, a fact that’s leads PSYCRENCE to play many stages in their native country, it includes an highly rewarded spot at the famous festival's "Tunes In Progress" bill.

Now it’s time for the release of their debut album, “A Frail Deception” and it’s time for a deep analysis of this burning platter, full of progressive elements, both inherited from the new and old tradition, melted and boosted carefully, with the additions of some down tuning heaviness and many intriguing atmospheric sounds. Their music style and its definition is hard to explain but it also contains a tons of familiar elements subtly borrowed to many legendary heroes… You’ll name it, isn't it?! As an example, the first tune “A Losing Game” starts with a melodic pattern of piano enhanced with layers of synthesizers overdubbed by an asymmetric guitar riffage, very classic in its construction and perfectly measured and dosed, with an impressive Lead vocals performance in order to complete this archetypal picture of the Progressive Metal of the 90’s… Nothing really new but the tradition is respected and honored by such a smart and fine introductive track.

The sonic production work gets a result near to perfection, scoring the privilege of being clear and strong in the exact doses, the best way to give justice at their amazing playing talents and developing an enjoyable path of sounds for songs like “Convergence” as it belongs to a more difficult breed of composition that really need some more time to penetrate your psyche… See you at the Coda. With the continuity of those four cuts that follow now “Forced Evolution” / ”Moral Decay” / ”Subconscious Eyes” / ”Incised Path” it reveals to us another side of their specifies, it holds a new density but also a real melodic richness, the opulent and refined Keyboards / Guitar harmonized canvas, built under a perfect construction of a complex duo is jaw dropping, the rhythmic section is tight as any Modern Power Metal but with a more elaborated harmonic maze on the top of it. The sharp riffing duet of guitars can be at the same time sophisticated and chaotic, bold and delicate, insidious or vicious but also elusive, their manic riffage is on the insistent mood, hypnotic or fierce and their solos spots are technically improved yet particularly demented in “Moral Decay””Incised Path” contains also a bunch of NWOBHM flavors compensated by a still very relaxed kind of proggy crooning courtesy of singer Takis Nikolakakis.

“Distance” is indeed another superbly crafted song, it's a Darker number hiding into a real progressive outfit, because of the arrangements as it builds itself layer after layer, until surprisingly providing a new found intensity and a new edge in the chorus section, starting with an incessant creeping riff that leads to another damn fine solo interaction. The track n°8 “Reflection” is another guitar driven, a fast paced and heavy thing, drums part are more direct, less audacious than the early titles but with a fury of melody improved by this always fantastic voice somewhere between Andy Kravljaca (ELSESPHERE / SEVENTH WONDER / SILENT CALL / AEON ZEN) and Nils K. Rue (PAGAN’S MIND / ex-X-WORLD 5 / ex-EIDOLON) with some hints of Tobias Sammett’s vibrato

“Hold Close The Flame” is the closing number and surely the most addictive of all, a slower pace, an ethereal clean guitar motif and an emotive vocals performance in the early QUEENSRYCHE‘s musical inspiration, in spite of the title being close to a famous track of the mythical “Warning”, the signature style is palpable and concrete, it's crystal clear to me that it belongs to an idolatry homage to the Tate / DeGarmo / Wilton legacies.

After the glorious releases by compatriots WARDRUM or UNTIL RAIN, I will believe that something musically exceptional is happening in this Mediterranean Hellenic territory, much alike the Italian phenomenon and its legions of talented group appearing like a spontaneous generation of talented spirits in the vein of FATES WARNING / QUEENSRYCHE / CIRCUS MAXIMUS / REDEMPTION / AEON ZEN or EUMERIA. A very classy collection of songs in the key of smartness and elegance, exquisitely set in an evaluative mood in order to conquer the hearts but mostly the mind of those Progressive Metal lovers.

4 Star Rating

1. A Losing Game
2. Convergence
3. Forced Evolution
4. Moral Decay
5. Subconscious Eyes
6. Incised Path
7. Distance
8. Reflection
9. Hold Close The Flame
Takis Nikolakakis – Lead Vocals
Thomas Kouris - Bass
Michael Aggelos Kouropoulos – Guitars
Kimon Zeliotis – Guitars
Timoleon Valsamakis – Drums
Record Label: Steel Gallery Records


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