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Psychotic Waltz: Bleeding
The genre of progressive metal went through a bad stage about a year or so
ago: the whole scene was somewhat inbred, a lack of new ideas threatening to
spoil what was potentially the most exciting musical trend since keyboards met
distorted guitars. Every progmetal band was either trying to sound like Dream
Theater, or trying not to sound like Dream Theater, an approach that never
works. (For example: try not to think about an elephant right now.)
Since that time, there have been many great bands to come along and restore our
faith in the potential of this artform: Enchant, Mayadome, Cairo and several
others have breathed fresh life and fresh ideas into our beloved infant.
You can add another name to that list: Psychotic Waltz, a tremendous band that
has been making great music for no less than ten years. Their latest album,
Bleeding, sets new standards for those who would follow.
Starting off with the unforgettable "Faded", a song I find myself playing over
and over just to hear its unusual and clever chorus, the album sets a powerful
mood with interplay of keyboard, guitar, and tight-as-Jesse-Helms'-ass drumming.
Another notable aspect of this band is the incredibly beautiful voice of singer
Buddy Lackey, a man whose clear tones and wide range are as unique as they are
polished: he doesn't sound like anybody else.
This brings me to the element of Psychotic Waltz that I perhaps respect the
most. Rather than wear their influences on their sleeves, Psychotic Waltz writes
songs that simply sound like them. There is a quiet confidence in this outfit,
an understanding that this is the music they wanted to make, and comparisons are
neither necessary nor fitting. While you certainly can dissect the sound and
point out elements that remind of other songs by other bands, it does nothing to
enhance the work in front of you.
That said, I simply must point out the brilliant song "Sleep", a masterpiece of
guitar and flute on which Buddy starts out with a very effective paean to Ian
Anderson. It's one of the best songs on the album, and that says a lot.
Also wonderful is "Morbid", a maturely written piece with some intelligent and
thought-provoking lyrics: a comparison between Christ dying on the cross and
roses being cut down (and therefore prevented from further growth) because of
Bleeding stands on a shelf of its own in the realm of metal music. To a
student of intelligent rock music, it is simply indispensable.
Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
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