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Psyence: Erased By Reason

Psyence are a young and upcoming instrumental progressive outfit from Offenburg Germany who take their cue from Tool, Russian Circles and as one of their track titles attests, Mogwai. To be fair to this talented bunch, there's much more thrown in along the way, with the introspective meander followed by burst of atmosphere of Long Distance Calling in evidence on occasion, as is the more subtle side of Opeth.

Obviously that sounds like an amazing concoction, yet to suggest that Psyence are ready to move into the big boys playground occupied by the above mentioned bruisers would be a little premature. Yes, Julius Münning and Daniel Schell on guitars know how to mix a potent brew of riffage and unsettling solos, while drummer Julian Braun and Georg Meffle on bass strike a happy balance between sitting in the pocket ready and willing to drive the sounds forward and expansive playing which brings colour and bite to proceedings. However with the wide ranging burst of sounds they call "Hikikomori" suffering from clunky guitar sounds and the want to wander off in directions which don't always hold the interest, the overriding emotion is one of frustration. For Psyence are so damn near the desired destination and yet still a great distance from where they want to be. It's unfortunate for this young act that they've chosen a genre which relies and mood, atmosphere and clarity of sound to get its message across, for these are all aspects that minuscule budgets and a DIY ethos seldom provide in the amount needed here. Put that to one side though and the lengthy eclecticism of "Eloszor" reveals a band with a penchant for angular outbursts and introspective darkness, all delivered with a deftness of touch and ability to keep the arrangement simple, while the idea remains far reaching.

However it's with the likes of "Psyence Fear Mogwai" (now there's a good life lesson!) that the true limitations of the album's sound begin to be difficult to ignore, the guitars losing their impact through a grating grind that results in you feigning interest, before coming close to giving up altogether. That said, when Psyence do get it right, they truly can overcome their short(budget)comings, with the ambient noise and trickling water of "IIIIII" grabbing the attention before "Dex" is unleashed, closing the album in ebullient style. Here a slightly more obvious song based approach and chunkier riffs allow Braun to sit playfully on a hi-hat beat, a lightness of touch not heard elsewhere also infusing the bass work and stinging guitar, which gives way to a mighty rumble of riffage.

In the end it's a mixed bag from Psyence, some great ideas hidden in the dark depths of a less than engaging sound, while some other ideas simply don't cut the mustard. However it's early days; hopefully Psyence can focus on the areas that make Erased By Reason an engaging, challenging listen and conjure up a second album which utilises that ethos from start to finish.


Track Listing
1. Evoke
2. Hikikomori
3. Eloszor
4. Psyence Fear Mogwai
5. Erased By Reason
6. IIIIII
7. Dex

Added: August 4th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Psyence on Facebook
Hits: 1315
Language: english

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