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Psycho Praxis

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Psycho Praxis Echoes From The Deep album cover
3.77 | 25 ratings | 5 reviews | 4% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side One:
1. Privileged Station (8:07)
2. P.S.M. (8:17)
3. Hoodlums (7:45)

Side Two:
4. Black Crow (9:09)
5. Awareness (5:56)
6. Noon (7:19)

Total Time 46:33

Line-up / Musicians

-Paolo Vacchelli / electric & 12 strings guitar
-Matteo Marini / electric bass, acoustic guitar
-Paolo Tognazzi / organ, piano, glockenspiel
-Andrea Calzoni / vocals and flute
-Matteo Tognazzi / drums

Releases information

CD: Black Widow Records BWR CD 147-2 (Nov 2012)
LP: Black Widow Records BWR LP 147 (Nov 2012)

Thanks to finnforest for the addition
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PSYCHO PRAXIS Echoes From The Deep ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PSYCHO PRAXIS Echoes From The Deep reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The ferocious energy and surging power on display throughout this debut album by new Italian band Psycho Praxis shows so much variety and highly promising talent that it's already drawing a lot of attention in the short time since it's release in November 2012. In addition to a kicking electric energy and frequently manic vocal delivery, the swirling flute crosses English band Jethro Tull with Italy's Quella Vecchia Locanda and Osanna, while the dirty organ/guitar interplay bridges Atomic Rooster with a rough Biglietto Per L'inferno RPI sound. This mixture of influences in addition to the use of English (though charmingly accented) vocals seems to be an attempt by the band to appeal to a world-wide audience, and there's no reason to think it won't happen on the strength of this magnificent first album.

Thirty seconds of humming machine ambience is all you get before finding out how unhinged and chaotic opener `Privileged Station' is - a tornado of shattering organ, dazzling rapid-fire guitar crunch and Andrea Calzoni's howling vocals. The heaviest piece on the album, like a nightmarish version of Van Der Graaf Generator at their wildest, the electric guitar frequently takes on a very serrated and cutting sound, and listen out for the bashing drum nastiness just after two minutes in! The second half settles into dreamy Pink Floyd moodiness as spacey guitars and bouncing bass wrap around each-other in the far reaches of space, with some early 70's Genesis marching drums, regal organs and floating flute thrown in for good measure. A killer opener, truly exhausting, and it just gets better from here.

The more mysterious `P.S.M' is closer to proper RPI, with an eerie gothic classical ambience in the synths and acoustic guitar playing, while running through several different tempos and atmospheres. Singing in a more reflective and thoughtful but typically passionate manner, lead vocalist Andrea sounds to my ears like an Italian accented Frank Bornemann from Germany's Eloy! Before long the piece kicks into gear and we're in true RPI territory with rough flute blowing and ghostly synths before a grand organ outro that sounds sinister, somber and uplifting all at the same time.

`Hoodlums' has almost cheeky and playful strutting bluesy electric guitar in the verses with a heavy organ/hard vocal chorus. Some searing guitar solos, lovely melodic strolling bass and barely contained crash-course drumming make for another catchy track, with a lovely sedate outro to balance out the busier moments on the album.

The gloomy and haunting `Black Crow' takes on a few similarities to Italian band Areknames with a very modern sound, yet contrasted here with RPI classical and acoustic majesty. It's a deeply gothic and unnerving piece, with a Banco-like schizophrenic and unpredictable identity as it leaps from oppressive moodiness, angry snaps to exhausting emotion. Andrea shows a lot of vocal dexterity here - soothing and sympathetic one minute, deranged and unleashed the next.

Mid-tempo instrumental `Awareness' is all super-thick loud Hammond organ, shimmering electronics and ragged Steve Howe picking - I especially dig guitarist Paolo's heavy run in the final minute! I'm sure there's almost a slightly creepy horror theme briefly worked in here. The best track on an album already full of great stuff, very addictive with catchy repeated musical melodies that make you want to play it over and over.

`Noon' is also predominately instrumental except for a brief vocal section in the final three minutes. Racing-against-time 70's prog guitar runs and darting flute dance throughout the plucky piece, with especially busy and crashing drumming raising the tension. Several parts of this piece become almost jazzy, and will greatly appeal to fans of Focus, only it's a little more aggressive. The final moments where the vocals enter ensures the album ends on a dramatic and commanding note.

A brief mention must go to the fascinating and surreal cover artwork that's a lot more richly detailed and subtle on closer observation. I suggest grabbing the vinyl version to truly appreciate it!

I would love next time for the band to consider recording two versions of the album, one with Italian vocals to really hammer home their RPI credentials. Proper commanding vocals in their native tongue that actually weave through the music is a true Italian progressive/RPI trademark when done properly, and that's the only thing that's really missing here. The English vocals work very well, but it robs the band a little of their RPI identity. Again, I have the feeling the band were hoping to make this album accessible to a wider audience, so their decision makes sense, but it's just a little disappointing.

Still, this is only a minor grumble against a confident and rich debut release, and the band can only go upwards from here. Those wanting to sample passionate and fiery Italian prog, but tempered with English influences for an easier first step into the RPI world could do no better than snapping up this album. You'll be rewarded with one of the most dynamic, colourful and blustery albums of 2012, and one that gets a talented new band off to a great start.

A well deserved four stars.

Review by andrea
3 stars Psycho Praxis began life in Brescia in 2004 but it wasn't until 2011 that the current line up featuring Andrea Calzoni (vocals, flute), Paolo Vacchelli (guitars), Paolo Tognazzi (keyboards), Matteo Marini (bass) and Matteo Tognazzi (drums) was completed. In 2012 they released an interesting debut album on the independent label Black Widow Records, "Echoes From The Deep", managing to mix vintage sounds and new ideas with excellent results. Well, the legacy of bands such as Pink Floyd, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple or Biglietto per l'Inferno weighs heavily on the overall sound but there's no plagiarism and the song-writing skills of Psycho Praxis are pretty good. According to an interview with the band "Echoes From The Deep" is a concept album about a passage from an emotional state to another and the art work by Michele Armiento in some way depicts the content of the music and lyrics.

The frenzied opener "Privileged Station" conjures up the vision of people running downhill chased from their paradise by a whimsical God that is observing them rubbing his hands. But some people is going against the tide and hiding their sins they manage to reach a privileged station in a free zone, soon followed by other rebels... Well, this track makes me think of a poem by Charles Baudelaire from his Flowers of Evil... "Race de Can, au ciel monte / Et sur la terre jette dieu!".

The following "P.S.M." begins softly, with acoustic guitar and a touch of organ. The vocals draw the image of an inmate who is waiting for the hangman in his cell. The atmosphere is dark, there's no room for hope any more, even the afterlife seems unhappy... "The master comes again / He grips his long staff / It's a hand of glass...". Then the soul of the inmate comes out of the body and stares at the gallows pole where the corpse is still dangling...

"Hoodlums" recalls Pink Floyd and takes you to the dark side of the moon. The lyrics conjure up some lost memories in a snowy winter morning. A child looks at a bunch of rascals who are passing by... "Come with us where the sun is shining / Leave your tools and have some days... ". The child heeds their calls, he follows them and throws away his life.

The reflective, melancholic "Black Crow" is a kind of desperate glance into the falsity of a world that behind the window of your room seems no more real than on the screen of your TV. The music and lyrics depict a lonely man and a crow with a human face while reality and unreality are blurred... "My dear bird, now I see you ripping the sounds, eating the news / Through your screams that cover all sounds / I recognize the sweetness of the world...".

The excellent, lively instrumental "Awareness" takes you out of the dark and leads the conclusive "Noon" which describes in music and lyrics the spiritual rebirth of a man after a troubled period. The crow becomes an eagle and the new soul can now hunt after a new being...

Well, to be honest I think that the concept is a bit foggy. Moreover, the band chose to sing in English and the vocals are not always clear, every now and again they sound even awkward. Maybe if Psycho Praxis would have sung in their native language the result would have been better... Anyway the music is really good and this album deserves a try!

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the more recent musical surprises for me is this debut album from Italian's Psycho Praxis. It may seem strange to say an album that is so obviously retro sounding comes like a breath of fresh air but so it is. This five piece have created an album that could have been released in the early seventies with little or nothing to place it in the current decade.

Echoes From The Deep is an album that is unashamedly influenced by early seventies prog. Whilst RPI references to the likes of PFM, Biglietto Per L'Inferno and Quella Vecchia Loccanda (1st album) are valid equally so it shares similarities with early UK prog, particularly Jethro Tull helped by vocalist Andrea Calzoni's similarity to Tull's Ian Anderson (with touches of Bernado Lanzetti and Roger Chapman now and then). If that wasn't enough of a comparison he also play's flute which features heavily throughout. Echoes From The Deep is a powerful album, though with a lighter touch where required, with constantly shifting rhythm's that skip and dance around with heavy emphasis on keyboard's, particularly organ. The guitars too are very retro sounding with a largely clean tone which works well in the overall sound. The six compositions are all mainly around the seven to nine minute mark with lots of busy instrumental workouts making it compelling listening. Worth noting and unusual for an Italian prog band it features English vocals.

If the normal use of the Italian language has been a barrier for you venturing into the world of RPI then you'll have no problems here. If you're up for something retro it's Well worth checking out.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars One thing I really enjoy about listening to so much music is that there are times when I come across gems that I know would have passed me by if I didn't spend so much time in the scene, and this is very much a case in point. Apparently this is a 2012 album from a young Italian band, but one wouldn't guess that from just playing it. While I think that I would have worked out the country, there is no way that I would have thought that his was a new album as instead it sounds as if it is yet another album that I have only come to some forty years after it was originally released. There is nothing false about this album; it doesn't sound at all as if it is trying to recreate the progressive sounds of times gone by but rather that this is indeed from that era.

Classic Italian progressive music, with swathes of hammonds and mellotrons, mixed in with flute and quirky time signatures and shifts in moods and we have here a bringing together of PFM, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and VDGG in a way that is inviting and somehow familiar while also being fresh and new. It may not be breaking any new ground and in many ways is totally regressive, but it is approached in such a manner that progheads will welcome this as fresh and inventive and totally genuine. Superb.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars It took a while for me to warm up to this 2012 recording released by Black Widow Records. This is very much a retro sounding album with vocals in English unfortunately although I believe these Italians were influenced in a big way by the British Prog scene. And there is so much variety which isn't something I'm really into but other than the opening number it all works for me. Lots of organ, guitar and to lesser extent flute. I can't say any Italian bands came to mind while listening to this but CAMEL, JETHRO TULL and PINK FLOYD did at various times. I don't like the album cover at all, are you kidding me.

"Privileged Station" is for me getting this album off on the wrong foot and it took me days to get past this. Yes I've warmed up to this one since. The vocals don't do it for me here as he shouts the lyrics, and I just don't like that style of singing. The organ sounds great early on and I like that dark calm after 3 1/2 minutes, very atmospheric. It kicks back in and the organ shines late before the flute arrives after 6 minutes.

"P.S.M." has these Ian Anderson-like vocals and so it brings TULL to mind. Acoustic guitar and atmosphere too. It's melancholic and folky. It does turn fuller as the vocals step aside. Pulsating organ along with flute stands out 2 1/2 minutes in as it picks up again. Vocals are back after 4 1/2 minutes. A silent calm before 5 1/2 minutes signals a change in sound even with the vocals.

"Hoodlums" might be my favourite with that Swedish sound bringing LANDBERK to mind at times. This can be heard right from the start with the picked guitar as drums and vocals join in. I also hear a KING CRIMSON and PINK FLOYD flavour. We get an uplifting chorus where the vocals are more passionate. I like this one a lot. It kicks in harder before 4 minutes with organ as the flute comes in over top. Some nice guitar follows. A calm ends it over the last couple of minutes as we get flute, a beat and guitar.

"Black Crow" has laid back vocals, acoustic guitar and atmosphere. Nice sound here, quite folky and relaxed as we can hear people talking in the background. It turns fuller at 2 1/2 minutes as the flute joins in and the vocals stop. I like the sound after 3 minutes as well with the organ, drums and more. Vocals are back before 4 minutes. I like the instrumental section starting around 6 minutes especially the organ and guitar.

"Awareness" has a psychedelic vibe as it picks up quickly with organ, picked guitar and drums. This is the only instrumental on here. Synths to the fore before 1 1/2 minutes then the guitar takes the lead then organ as they continue to trade off. Flute and a CAMEL flavour after 2 minutes. More of that CAMEL vibe late.

"Noon" ends it and we get this fairly complex instrumental start with so much going on. I like the guitar lighting it up. Flute leads after a minute with bass and drums. Distorted organ 2 minutes in. Nice. Flute and organ then lead in this uptempo section. A calm before 4 1/2 minutes as reserved vocals arrive. It builds with more passionate vocals 5 1/2 minutes in. Nice guitar as the vocals step aside late.

I'm very comfortable giving this the 4 stars but it won't be going in my RPI section.

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