Karma-Kannix, a now-defunct group featuring seasoned multi-instrumentalist cover-band vets Gregg Johns and James Walker, borrowed from Bowie, Metallica, Phil Collins-era Genesis and even Zebra. But their new project, Slychosis, boasts a much cooler name and pays more direct homage to prog-rock masters such as Yes, the Alan Parsons Project, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Rush. Throw in some modern influences that reflect Glass Hammer and maybe Neal Morse-less Spock's Beard, and you've got an intriguing self-titled debut CD that's both highly listenable and wee disconcerting.
This is an eclectic and meandering concept album about a young boy who finds an old but magical pocket watch buried in his ancestral home and comes face to face with his frightening future. The first half of the 12-track album is more melodic and song-oriented, with the second half devoted to lots of spoken-word and instrumental passages. The middle section is the most bizarre, with distracting sound effects and references to an "Orwellian nightmare" on "Cyber-Evil," culminating in an ELP-like excursion on the three-part "Frosted Mini Suite" and a walloping guitar clinic from Johns on "Meltdown." "Until Then" pays tribute to Slychosis' influences, as evidenced by the trio dedicating the song to "the genius of Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd and Shakespeare." Then comes "EVP," short for "Electronic Voice Phenomena," on which the band claims have used "actual electronic voice phenomenon recordings obtained during paranormal investigations." I'm assuming those are the harsh alien-like noises strategically fused in between the grooves of this dramatic and heavy closing track. Despite its novelty appeal, the song works as well as anything else on the album – even better, in some cases.
Unfortunately, like Karma-Kannix's Explorations in Inner & Outer Space, Slychosis suffers from thin production, and more detailed liner notes with lyrics would have helped. Still, the amount of creative energy and musical effort that Slychosis put into this record makes it a worthwhile addition to any independent prog-rock fans' catalog.
4) Galactic Wormhole
5) Wild Night in Calcutta
7) Frosted Mini Suite
8) Glass ½ Full
10) Space Bass
11) Until Then