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Thought Chamber

Progressive Metal

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Thought Chamber Psykerion album cover
3.90 | 106 ratings | 9 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Inceptus (2:40)
2. Exodus (1:47)
3. Psykerion: The Question (3:02)
4. In the Words of Avakus (1:52)
5. Light Year Time (5:33)
6. Kerakryps (5:27)
7. The Black Hole Lounge (1:08)
8. Circuits of O.D.D. (1:54)
9. Behind the Eyes of Ikk (8:36)
10. Isle of Bizen (4:34)
11. Xyrethius II (4:30)
12. Recoil (3:17)
13. Breath of Life (3:04)
14. Transcend (9:38)
15. Planet Qwinkle (4:41)
16. Inner Peace (2:07)

Total Time 63:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Ted Leonard / Vocals
- Michael Harris / Guitars
- Jeff Plant / Bass
- Bill Jenkins / Keyboards
- Mike Haid / Drums

Releases information

Released by InsideOut Music, September 16th, 2013.

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THOUGHT CHAMBER Psykerion ratings distribution

(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THOUGHT CHAMBER Psykerion reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
5 stars It has taken six years for Thought Chamber to follow-up their debut album, but there has been a lot going on with those involved, which has also seen quite a change in the line-up. Michael Harris (guitar, keyboards, harmony vocals) has managed to get Ted Leonard back again, even though these days he is not only singer in Enchant and Affector but of course Spock's Beard, and the line-up has been completed by new members drummer Mike Haid (David T. Chastain, Joe Stump, etc.), bassist Jeff Plant and keyboardist Bill Jenkins (also of Enchant). The result is one of the most essential prog metal albums I have ever come across. Imagine Dream Theater style complex runs combined with the melody and layering of Kansas and one might just close to how majestic and incredible this album is.

This is the sort of album that I call a "review killer", in that once I played it I just kept playing it and wasn't getting to all of the other albums I should be reviewing. It also means that by the time I came to write about it I am actually at a loss to describe what I am hearing. Like all reviewers, we do what we do because we love music and want to share our views about it, but that doesn't mean we enjoy everything we get sent to review and there are times when I am playing something and I question my very sanity as to why I am doing it. But then, albums like this one come around and it makes everything else more than worthwhile. If I had come across this band in the press or on the web and had seen that Ted was involved then I would have been intrigued as I have always loved Enchant (and the new SB album is undoubtedly their best since 'Snow'), but in this case I was sent a download by the label so just grabbed it. As is normal for me, I didn't read who was involved until I had played it through a few times so that I wouldn't be influenced and could instead concentrate on the music. To be honest, I had convinced myself that Steve Walsh had been brought in for some songs, such is his influence on Ted in this album.

Complexity, simplicity, melody, dischord, lounge, metal, it's all here. This is the complete package with every musician giving their all, with incredible note density and a locked-in feel that is hard to describe. Prog Metal honestly doesn't get any better than this. Whatever you could ever want from the genre, it's here, in spades?

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars They might not be the same band anymore, technically speaking, but Thought Chamber has done me a service with their new album "Psykerion". Yes, indeed, these guys have been one of the few progressive metal bands this year that have reminded me that prog metal isn't dead in the water when it comes to invention and creativity. "Psykerion" is rather unique in many ways, so the first rule of listening to this album is to forget other prog metal albums from this year.

Thought Chamber has swapped out a few members, now containing a new bassist in Jeff Plant, a new keyboardist in Bill Jenkins, and a new drummer in Mike Haid. These three guys, along with former members Michael Harris (guitars) and Ted Leonard (vocals), have crafted an amazingly genius prog metal album with hefty doses of space rock, psychedelia, and epic structures. Somehow they pull of the latter even though many of the tracks are around three minutes in length. Indeed, they get right to the point on most of the tracks, never messing around, but instead gives us incredible jams and crazy passages galore. Admirable indeed.

Well, let me be more specific. First of all, the guitars are heavy and deep, and feature outstanding riffs and some excellent solos. Yet, the keyboards are spacey and ethereal. These two instruments play off of each other so well, and give this album a vast range of tone. On the other hand, the keys are nothing normal. They may have a spacey tone, but they also have a wacky, unearthly vibe that could only be likened to Haken, in my opinion. So, add to all this some beautifully composed bass lines (including some solos) and fantastic drums that are never overbearing, and you have a recipe for success.

Now, I know that Ted Leonard has been busy of late. He's got Spock's Beard and Affector on his plate, as well as Enchant. But this guy can sing! He has shown it time and again, and I think this album may almost rival his Spock's Beard outing this year in relation to his vocal performance. His beautiful upper range fits perfectly with the sci-fi tone of the music, but his entire range is used on this album, too.

So, incredible music and terrific vocals are certainly trademarks of this album. However, I must confess that I can't get into the lyrical content. It's some sort of sci-fi story, but I haven't found it overly interesting. Maybe this is because the music is just so darn distracting, I don't know. So, for me, the lyrical content is somewhat negligible here, and so I can't fully connect.

Regardless, however, this album is a must-hear for prog metal fans. The complexity and the eccentricity of the music is something that must be heard by any serious fan, and I will say with certainty that this album has been worth the six year wait that Thought Chamber provided.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Psykerion" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Thought Chamber. The album was released through InsideOut Music in September 2013. There have been quite a few changes in the lineup since the debut and as a consequence the only remaining members of the lineup that recorded "Angular Perceptions (2007)" are band founder/guitarist Michael Harris and lead vocalist Ted Leonard (Enchant, Affector, Spockīs Beard).

While Michael Harris was the main composer on "Angular Perceptions (2007)" and remains to be on "Psykerion" the two albums are quite different in sound and style. You can still hear itīs the same band playing, but Thought Chamber have developed their sound significantly in the years between the two releases. While references to acts like Dream Theater, late eighties Fates Warning (tracks like "Psykerion: The Question" and "Recoil" feature the same dark atmosphere) and at times even early Psychotic Waltz (mostly because of Ted Leonardīs voice and singing style) are valid enough, Thought Chamber incorporate a lot of progressive rock elements on "Psykerion", which they didnīt do to this extent on the debut album, which was more of a "straight" progressive metal affair. As a result "Psykerion" is quite an eclectic release featuring a successful balance between progressive metal and progressive rock elements (tracks like "Light Year Time" and "Isle of Bizen" for example feature very few metal related elements). Probably because of the shared sci-fi lyrics and imagery I canīt help mention that "Psykerion" features quite a few similarities to "ReEvolution (2013)" by Cynthesis. Another great 2013 progressive metal release.

"Psykerion" features 16 tracks and a full playing time of 63:53 minutes. Some of the tracks are shorter instrumentals, interludes or intro/outros, but the song lengths are generally around the 3 - 5 minutes mark, with only two longer tracks out of the bunch and none of those two exceed the 10 minutes mark. The whole thing is packed in a powerful and well produced sound production. At times I feel the keyboards (leads) are slightly too high in the mix, but thatīs a minor issue. The organ on the other hand are placed tastefully in the mix and provide the music with a nice organic warmth.

The musicianship are on a high level. In keeping with the eclectic nature of the music youīll be exposed to both atmospheric playing and more challenging progressive parts with fast runs and tempo- and time signature changes in "classic" progressive metal style. Lead vocalist Ted Leonard delivers a very convincing performance, but if you are already familiar with some of his previous work, thatīs really no surprise. He is a greatly skilled singer with a distinct sounding voice and a personal vocal style.

"Psykerion" reeks of class all the way through. The musicianship are strong, the sound production professional and well sounding and the songwriting is intriguing and adventurous. All in all a high quality product in every way possible. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars PSYKERION is the 2nd album by THOUGHT CHAMBER. This is the first time i've heard of them much less heard them so this is my first taste of their brand of progressive metal that has been getting much attention and high praise. It is a concept album and is put into a story form that is told by a young boy genius named Avakus on the spaceship Karakryps-One which is on a mission of some sort in the galaxy known as Psykerion. The events that unfold cause this young boy to endure an existential quandary and this is all backed up by some extremely top notch musicianship. Michael Harris is the virtuoso guitarist and keyboard player who adds his idiosyncratic signature on most of the tracks. His interplay with bassist Jeff Plant, Mike Haid on drums and Bill Jenkins on more keyboards is one of the most exciting sounds i've heard in prog metal in a while. While they still reside on the Dream Theater branch of prog metal, they have sufficiently distanced themselves from being clones and have a refreshing futuristic feel that some of the older bands have failed to achieve.

I have listened to this quite a bit lately because it is some intense technical metal that steers clear of alienating the listener. This band really knows how to deliver some satisfying stuff that blends the technical and emotional seamlessly. The fast runs are always counterbalanced by slower parts and often the call-and-response of the instruments creates an atmosphere that feels like galaxies flying by outside the spaceship. The production is top notch as well with everything being mixed perfectly and the mixture of short instrumentals with longer vocal rich compositions is very brilliantly played out indeed. The vocals of Ted Leonard sometimes remind me of Fran Cosmo of Orion The Hunter and the later Boston since he has a high pitched voice that hits all the high notes effortlessly.

Everything that works about this album is absolutely great, but unfortunately this doesn't come off as a perfect album for me. The problem lies in the fact that a few of these tracks just stray from the sound that this band has crafted so well. It's especially true in the slower songs. They clearly pay tribute to their favorite 70s progsters. For example "Light Year Time" sounds to me like a Kansas meets Styx kind of tune. "Isles Of Bizen" reminds me so much of Yes' "And You And I" with its chord progressions that I can't help but start singing "A man conceived a moment's answers to the dream....." "Breath Of Life" sounds like it came from one of the gazillion Neal Morse projects (Ted's Spock's Beard days showing up here) and "Transcend" sounds like a long lost Kansas song with some serious spicing up of course. All of this ruins this as a perfect album for me but I still find some of the cream of the crop like "Kerakryps" to be highly exciting and very much looking forward to how this band develops their own sound further as well as hoping they ditch the blatant influences and pack them into more subtle forms of hero worshiping.

Review by Warthur
3 stars When you have a progressive metal act coming onto the scene well over a decade after Images & Words hit and they call themselves some variation on "(cognitive process) (indoor space)", you more or less know what you can expect: technical, flashy, showy, and sometimes cheesy progressive metal in a Dream Theater vein. Psykerion is Thought Chamber's second album and it's certainly a technically competent piece of work, but at the same time it often comes down to mere showboating rather than crafting music which actually makes an emotional connection with the listener. If you are very fond of the Dream Theater style of prog metal, it can't hurt to give this one a try - but then again, the band name already told you that.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Thought Chamber is without hesitation one of my fav prog metal bands ever, specially because of their debut Angular perceptions, who was and is for me a damn excellent prog metal release. If the debut was from 2007 the second offer is coming some years later in 2013 named Pyskerion. Well, this is quite diffrent in musical terms and aswell in line up. First, only the head of the band Michael Harris is present and front man Ted Leonard from previous work, the rest of the 3 new members are from Enchant and Joe Stump. Second, musicaly speaking as I've said is diffrent then Angular perceptions, this is more towards in many places to progressive rock, some of the pieces (16 in number) have nothing in common with prog metal only slightly, it sounding like a more edgy Kansas to my ears. Anyway this is quite eclectic, the combination of prog metal with prog rock and jazzy elements makes from this second release an enjoyble ride for sure. The pieces are much shorter around 4-5 min with only 2 being lenhtier around 8-9. Each musicin shines and handle damn fine the instruments. Technicaly competent for sure, Pyskerion delivers what listner wants to hear, no weak moments here for sure, but with all that I prefer the debut more. All in all a fine album for sure, Thought Chamber is a brilliant prog metal band that anyone can find something intresting to discover.4 stars.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars "A cosmic storm beyond the norm"

I came across Thought Chamber because of the involvement of Ted Leonard and Bill Jenkins, vocalist and keyboard player respectively of the band Enchant, and this second album from the group entitled Psykerion simply blew me away! I cannot even remember if I have ever decided on a five star rating after such a small number of spins as for this stunningly brilliant album. Of course, I then confirmed my initial judgement with many further listens before writing this review and Psykerion is indeed a masterpiece. And it is a masterpiece not just of Prog Metal, but of progressive Rock in general. Songs like Light Year Time and Isle Of Bizen are pure Symphonic Prog with not much Metal about them at all, and Yes fans in particular are bound to be charmed by these wonderful songs.

The style of this album is an eclectic fusion of Prog Metal, Symphonic Prog, Neo-Classical Metal, and Jazz- Rock/Fusion. The musicianship is absolutely breathtaking throughout. The hour long album is brimming with good musical ideas presented to the listener in rapid succession with nothing ever outstaying its welcome. The twists and turns take the listener on a musical journey paraleing that of the travellers of the album's concept. The principal architect of the music is guitarist extraordinarie Michael Harris. On bass we have Jeff Plant and on drums Mike Haid. The performance of the entire band is extremely impressive and the aforementioned Bill Jenkins exerts himself far beyond what he did in Enchant while Leonard sings as well as ever but differently than in Enchant. Any comparisons between the music of Thought Chamber and that of Enchant are largely misplaced (though the track Breath Of Life sounds a bit like Enchant).

I can detect influences here from Yes, Dream Theater, Rick Wakeman, Symphony X, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Return To Forever, Al Di Meola, UK, and others. But these guys have more fun than any of these bands (well, except Wakeman maybe). Some of the aspects of the album concept and the somewhat odd song titles are examples of that. There are humorous overtones here, but there is also a more serious side. Indeed, I find the mixture of different moods, from joyous to melancholic and from witty to profound, sometimes within the same song, brilliant and reminiscent of Queen's A Night At The Opera.

In the title track (subtitled "The Question") the album's concept, which revolves around a quest "to reach Psykerion - this land beyond the sun", begins to unfold. Who the travellers are exactly and why they want to reach Psykerion remains alluringly obscure throughout, or as the lyrics has it: "The question remains...". A bit further on, we learn that the ships they are travelling on are called the Kerakryps and O.D.D. is the name of their navigating computer. As I understand it, the travellers visit various places along their journey including a visit to a "gentle giant" called Ikk! (This reminds vaguely of the part in Rick Wakeman's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth when the travellers of that story come across a primeval sheperd). Beyond these somewhat silly details of the story, there is thankfully a lot of room left for the listener's own imagination which I have always found is an attractive feature of an album concept. My own personal interpretation is that "Psykerion" stands for the unknown and "the quest" symbolizes humanity's eternal struggle to expand the frontiers of the known. For example, from the track Trancend: "Knowledge is an everlasting seed" and "we push the envelope until we surpass".

In sum, this music is mindbogglingly good and is the best music I have discovered in a very long time. Once it ends one wants to start it all over again. Unless they are allergic to any Metal elements this album is very highly recommended to all progressive Rock fans.

Latest members reviews

4 stars With half of tracks being interludes and goofy sci-fi titles such as Kerakryps and Behind the eyes of ikk (which actually mixes sci-fi metal and Guns'n'Roses-style boogie metal), you could pardon one for being skeptical. But luckily I knew this studio project from their debut, a competent and energe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1147259) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, March 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a great improve in comparison to the first album. This is a very solid and very USA prog rock band and album. A very technical prog rock with some fusion jazz -heavy prog instrumental arrangements. Very good musicians and with a very talented and experimented vocalist as Ted Leon ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064648) | Posted by robbob | Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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