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Psychotic Waltz - Into The Everflow CD (album) cover


Psychotic Waltz


Progressive Metal

4.14 | 255 ratings

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5 stars A Milestone of Prog Metal leaves the rest for dead!

"Into The Everflow" is an amazing album that has received rave reviews across the internet and I have finally been treated to its craftsmanship of technical metal and symphonic grace. OK confession time again. Psychotic waltz have somehow eluded me over the years although I am a confessed prog metal freak into Dream Theater especially, but Psychotic Waltz are in a league of their own. Indescribable complexity that ranges from dark intricate distorted riffing that blows the wall apart to gentle acoustic and soft vocals that lulls you into a dream. The beauty of this metal is there is none of that death metal growling and yet the brutality of the metal is ever present. The band do not just launch into an all out speed assault without leaving a space for the music to breathe, rather the music is given huge scope with an assortment of fused styles of pure emotional depth. The structure of the songs are astounding with complex shifts in time signatures that are difficult to emulate. There are passages of symphonic ambience and then an onslaught of power riffing. At times the band settle into melancholy territory with heartfelt ballads and then the next track will strip the wallpaper with full blown metal shredding.

Razor sharp riffing and blazing lead breaks are the forte of the band along with a tour de force vocal performance from Buddy Lackey who is also on keyboards. He might just be the best metal vocalist of the 90s. This band mesmirise with pure metal riffing genius! It's a tragedy that the band disbanded years ago. They have been rightly labelled one of the most underrated bands in history and I agree!

Highlights are here though the whole album delivers some of the best prog metal on the planet.

'Ashes' is symphonic at the beginning, with cathedral synths that provide an ethereal mood. The guitars are gentle over the orchestrated synths with a Gothic feel. Leggio's marching timpani drum begins with huge metal distorted guitar chords crunching in. The synths are beautiful though dark. At 3:18 the vocals finally enter and lift the track to a new level. The vocals are terrific and are similar I guess to James LaBrie but not as high pitched and operatic, a nice harmony too of multi layered vocals works well.

'Out Of Mind' is an all out riffing assault, a relentless shattered macrocosm of power metal with sporadic squeals and psychedelic vocals. One of the heaviest Psychotic Waltz tracks. The Slayer-esque, Morbid Angel-esque riffing is broken by a lead break mid way through, but the riffs continue relentlessly and with bizarre time sigs. The chugging riff at 2:10 is wonderful. This could have been a song ruined by death metal vocals but instead Lackey's vocals are well sung and restrained, and this is why the band appeals to non death metal fans as myself, despite the death thrash metal of the guitars.

'Tiny Streams' has a Black Sabbath feel throughout though ten times heavier. The melody is early Sabbath and the lyrics even contain "? psychic burning, Black Sabbath record turning, " referenced. Then we hear the quote "Don't you understand, I am stoned, I am stoned!" which I believe is from the Cheech and Chong movie "Still Smokin'". Is this an affectionate homage to 1970s pop culture or just a clever in joke? The Sabbath style and references are certainly intentional, it even sounds like Ozzy singing at times. The track has some innovative licks on guitar too.

'Into The Everflow' is a mini epic with many time sig shifts melting the mood swings from darkness to light. The tune has a fabulous hook, and there is a lot going on in the vocal department before a scorching lead break screams in. The lyrics on this get into some dark territory too but they are sung with a lot of feeling by Lackey; "Tortured tongues feast their frenzy, They hiss out all that is nothing, The night time of the hearing flower, Has put aside the laugh dancing flame, No longer warming the wings, Of their fluttering dust angel mistress, The petals have closed for this long night, Their brittle limbs are thinning, their meek and weeping gesture fares their well, To the falling paper blossoms, One by one, down into the everflow?" It is an incredible symphony of blazing metal riffs and a powerful vocal performance. The lead break is stunning on this again with speed picking, screaming string bends and twin guitar picking and harmonic guitar trade offs from Rock and McAlpin creating one of the best lead breaks I have heard. A definitive highlight of the album.

'Little People' has an odd riff that drives it along and some off kilter vocals that don't match the riff but bizarrely works somehow; "Look into these little boxes... everyone has lots of money, everyone lives in style, little people, little houses, happy living little lives, when they wake up with perfect makeup, it makes me sick." The humourous theme is similar to the 60s protest classic "Little Boxes" song. The structure of the song is all over the place but the chaos suits it. The vocals are fantastic on this, and I love those screaming guitars of Rock and McAlpin.

'Hanging on a String' is a very melancholy and gentle ballad in a darker sense, a song about hanging on to sanity and life "that seems to all get taken away? it seems like life is just a game?"

'Freakshow' features a killer power metal riff and funkadelic bass. It sounds a bit like early Slayer in the riffing but the Lackey's vocals and the slap bass give it that eclectic metal style that is definitely unique. A haunting melody drives this with intriguing vocals, "In this state of mind, I'm more than myself, I could reach up into the sky, color in the sun, In the eyes of my imagination I can roll a bigger stone, I've cut the ties that build the rule of lies, And then I tripped away into the void?" A number of intricate time sigs are joined by quite enigmatic vocals. The riffs are strangely familiar at times but always interchanging into new shapes. I like the lyrics on the verse: "So I write this song of mine, To soothe my ears and ease my mind, And so another written page, Will turn into the everflow, Where no one ever really knows about me, Should they even care?"

Great melodies and nice metal tones drive the lengthy 'Butterfly' with gorgeous guitar arpeggios. Little squeals and odd time sig changes in the melody are given virtuoso treatment from both Rock and McAlpin. The song has a Queensryche style at first, with the keyboards as a deft touch, and then sounds similar to Symphony X. Dextrous guitar riffs lock in over a howling guitar moan. The bizarro riffs continue, and it is King Crimson like, in the way the guitar doesn't quite synch; almost a jazz time sig follows, quirky vocals and Evans' slap bass figure. The melody changes completely, and then a new time sig with speed riffing which sounds more Dream Theater-ish in this passage. Leggio's tom tom drums punch out an African rhythm and a collection of rock classics are paid homage to including 'Purple Haze', 'People Are Strange', and 'Fame' among others. There is a really cool vibe generated. Evans' bass is divine here too slapping with funky shapes over voodoo Santana drums. A new time sig blasts away until the keys return over the main motif; "I am the Butterfly? I am forever?" A truly mesmirising song.

I was in awe of Psychotic Waltz after listening to this album and have hunted down everything they have done. You can guarantee a true exploration of true prog metal on every album. This may well be their best as it captures everything that is great about them, the intricate time sig riffing, the manic sporadic drumming, the acrobatic vocals, the fractured rhythmic pulse, the shades of symphonic beauty and the dark lyrics. A 5 star triumph!

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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