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Psionic - "2006 Promo" (CD)

Psionic - "2006 Promo" CD cover image

"2006 Promo" track listing:

1. Under Silent Rule
2. Ethereality
3. Transpire
4. Wordless Aeons

Reviewed by on July 28, 2006

"With such a broad array of sonic capability, Psionic are poised to be standard bearers of their multifaceted sound"

In today’s world, everything is hybridized. Toyota has hybrid cars and Churchill Downs has hybrid racing horses, it stands to reason that the metal community would have hybrid bands. As it turns out, the metal community is overpopulated with them. Many are unwanted byproducts of poor genetic pairings. Rap-metal and screamo have left the metal world with a lingering identity crisis. There are times however, when sonic cross pollination yields intriguing results. Take thrash/industrialists Psionic for instance. Mixing Megadeth with Fear Factory seems elementary, even obvious. However, Psionic manages to find space to fit nuances of Black Sabbath, Orgy, Symphony X among others, into the mix. Stranger still, Psionic are not the prophets of a doomed future as some industrial acts boast but rather the band applauds endurance and assertiveness in the present.

“Under Silent Rule” kicks off with a squeal of distortion that clears the path for striding rhythms, crunching power chords and moaning keys. Frontman Robert Nusslein juggles Ozzy Osbourne’s lilting but forceful croon with Al Jourgensen’s ill tempered snarls. An extended breakdown finds militant drums and devious synths painting a sinister backdrop for helter skelter guitar leads and ominous samples. “Ethereality” begins with hardcore vocals but maintains the icy electronic sound scape established in “Under Silent Rule”. The thrash vibe is diminished in favor of a sample laden alt metal flavor. Overall the performance conjures the boisterousness of Mushroomhead but remains detached and distant like Orgy. “Transpire” is undeniably catchy but it comes at the cost of the quality heard on the previous tracks. Redundant helicoptering riffs and rudimentary keyboards are elevated by a hum-worthy guitar solo and deft drum fills but the song is marred by an extended and uneventful bridge. Classical strings join Rammstein-like guitars for the anthemic “Wordless Aeons”. Vocalist Robert Nusslein channels Jay Gordon and Burton C. Bell sounding just as charismatic but half as angry. A middle-eastern tinged guitar solo wiggles free of claustrophobic riffing, synthetic steel drums and violins. “Wordless Aeons” compartmentalizes the variety evident in the previous tracks into one relatively solid closing song.

Psionic have all the essential components for greatness and even demonstrate their awareness of this, albeit in a limited fashion. Theres a sense that the band dumbs thing down a bit, so as not to alienate impulsive radio fans prowling for a catchy tune. The lyrics aren’t particularly rivitting but they get the job done and they are sung with conviction. The band rarely bombard the listener with hooks or choruses but they occasionally undertake instrumental detours that are a bit long winded for being so straightforward. The guitar solos bristle with personality, however, managing to give meandering songs purpose, while making decent songs better. Keys, synthes and programming add a villainous undercurrent to a mostly thrash and hard rock oriented instrumental performance. Production quality is impeccable, with no jarring blemishes. With such a broad array of sonic capability, Psionic are poised to be standard bearers of their multifaceted sound.

Highs: Diverse vocal performances, inventive guitars and a broad spectrum of synths reinforced by a sturdy rhythm section. The band are truly engaging, if a bit quirky.

Lows: Lyrics are somewhat convoluted. “Transpire” is as accessible as anything Smile Empty Soul, Trapt or Three Days Grace have churned out in the past 3 years and just as disposable.

Bottom line: Psionic may one day surpass Fear Factory as the entity that can bring industrial metal to the rock radio masses.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)