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The Psyke Project - "Apnea" (CD)

The Psyke Project - "Apnea" CD cover image

"Apnea" track listing:

1. The Voice Of Commandment
2. I Get Paralyzed
3. Panic
4. Creating Landscapes
5. Physical Romance
6. Dedication
7. Love Shown In A Handful Of Dirt
8. Poems Written By Kings Listen
9. Jugganata
10. Not In My Time

Reviewed by on October 4, 2010

"'Apnea' sounds like the diseased, overweight child of Isis, Heaven Shall Burn, and Neurosis all with an experimental whine."

With the countless sub-genres that divide the metal world, it’s rare to come across an album that defies labeling. “Apnea,” the third album from Denmark’s The Psyke Project, is a dense record falling somewhere between post-rock, progressive metal, drone metal, and metalcore, while never being able to be held down. “Apnea” sounds like the diseased, overweight child of Isis, Heaven Shall Burn, and Neurosis all with an experimental whine.

From the opening track to the final cut, “Apnea” creates a dark landscape that is both creepy and intriguing. “The Voice Of Commandment” builds upon its dark atmosphere with the transition between trance-inducing chord repetition and the more accessible, raspy metalcore edge. While not as diverse as Isis, the music is written in the same way, utilizing long passages to build a foundation for the heavier sections. “Creating Landscapes” works much in the same way, but in reverse; starting with a hectic, fast, and heavy base that melts into the atmospheric realm with ease.

While always forward-thinking, “Apnea” does suffer from moments of striking similarity. Once the second half of the record rolls around there are some instances when it’s hard to determine if you've heard the song earlier in the disc. “Love Shown In A Handful of Dirt” sounds quite similar to “Creating Landscapes” and follows the same formula, integrating the band’s metalcore/mathcore influence before moving into more tranquil territory. “Jugganata,” clocking in at 9 minutes, also suffers from the same issues as it tries to cram every musical idea found on “Apnea” into one song.

Although having some low points, it’s impossible to deny that this album provides an interesting listen with its complex peaks and subtle valleys. The entire package is concluded with “Not In My Time,” the softest and most melodic track on the entire album and is a definite high point. The only song to feature real clean vocals is further accented with false crescendos and odd lyrics. The bass guitar is also integral here and plays a major role, as it should with any release of this style. The guitar solo near the end of the track, along with the singing being layered on top of the mysterious chanting, creates the perfect closer for “Apnea.” The closing track redeems it from the later half’s slump, and the album could really have used more songs like this.

The Psyke Project is obviously a band with big ideas and some of them come out on “Apnea.” While providing an enjoyable listen, it is an album that requires a certain mood or vibe to match its dark atmosphere. This isn’t something most people would listen to everyday and while nothing here is groundbreaking, breathtaking, or revolutionary it should be a perfect match for those seeking some twisted progressive metal.

Highs: Some impressive song writing that builds tension and atmosphere.

Lows: A few songs tend to sound quite similar to one another.

Bottom line: For fans of progressive, dark, and sludgy metal.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)