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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 their beauty.

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
Hits: 3489
Language: english

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