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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The title of Psicotropia's third release states that the band's essence is cubed. Is this what we really find in "Psicotropia3", a Psicotropia3? No, not really, but surely there is something enhanced here, and that is the tapestry of power and dynamics that the band had installed so successfully in their sophomore release "Grog". In turn, "Grog" had signified an increased focus on the trio's most extroverted side, so we can now make it clear that this third album has its main foundation in the reinforcement of a straight musical direction that the band has decidedly pursued after their first namesake effort. Messrs. Tato, Mariscal and Llull take the guidelines and benchmarks of roads they know so well and add renewing textures to the fold. 'Habanera' kicks off the album with a direct reinforcement of the sort of energy and vigor we cometo expect from any metal-related type of progressive rock. The inclusion of a famous quote from Ravel's "Carmen" in a habanera-like mood turns out to be such a humorous variation through the track's development, which essentially showcases the Tool-infected Primus-meets-90s Crimson that Psicotropia knows so well. This initial musical voyage makes the listener ready for the drum solo that starts 'Piedra'. Once the whole ensemble settles in, a jazz-rock mood establishes the overall ambience which seems to emulate a police thriller movie with a touch of Zappaesque humor. After the 3 minute mark, things shift toward math-rock territory; at this point, the listener needs to pay close attention to the clever keyboard input made by guest Carlos Plaza, who knows how to emphasize the funk-friendly colors emerging from the rhythm duo. After a straightforward heavy number and a neurotic one, 'Tinta' is welcome as a provider of spiritual calmness. With its reasonably slow delivery of alternated 6/8 and 7/8 tempos, the stage is set for an introspective moment. The presence of string arrangements halfway onward to the end helps to fulfill the emotional aura that is taking place is such a controlled fashion. The coda that shifts things toward an electrifying display of prog-metal stamina wraps things up on a healthily surprising note. The rocking fire is prolonged and augmented in the instrumental 'Country Grog', a delightful exercise on prog- metal that incarnates the robust nucleus of this power trio. 'Patos' starts in a melancholic mood that easily reminds us of 'Tinta' (besides the string section that also appears here), but the track soon evolves into a sequence of varying motifs and moods that probably makes it the album's highlight. At least, this has to be one of the best Psicotropia compositions ever. 'Los Espectros De Kronstadt' returns unabashedly to KC-meets- Primus territory, yet another example of Psicotropia exploiting its power-trio format with flying colors. 'Oigo Silencio', on the other hand, moves to different realms, as a kindof opposition against the musical thunderstorm delivered in an older song entitled 'Oigo Voces' (from the debut album). It is languid and calm, almost like a sonic elaboration of ethereal sounds? but it certainly is not peaceful, you can really sense an unquiet turmoil latent beneath the calm, minimalistic surface. Some brief passages provide momentary rocking explosions like windows through which one can glimpse at the sunlight's remains in the afternoon. Generally speaking, its 6 minutes pass by unadvertedly since its melancholic drive is very appealing. The album's closer alternates architectonic frenzy and controlled bombast in a way that reminds me of the debut's song 'Madre Tierra'. Only this time we find additional keyboard inputs that effectively create an extra dose of progressive sophistication. I wish this track had been a little longer than it is, but no doubt that it brings an efficient end to an excellent album: perhaps it will be a progressive master opus from Spain for 2010.
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Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink

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