Phalanx [AUS]
Psychosis


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
July 27th, 2008 | 52 replies | 6,941 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A superb progressive death/doom album, and easily one of the best metal releases of the year.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Coming out of obscurity, Psychosis is a refreshing surprise. With a strong foundation in progressive death and a depressive tint in the form of a doom influence, the album rarely gives you a chance to stop and take it all in. Whether it is the faster, technical and more ‘brutal’ moments, or the slower melodic passages, Brisbane based Phalanx keep originality and good song-writing as priority number one. With the recent popularity of anything mediocre, Phalanx’s Psychosis is a welcome change.

The way complex and technical music is used nowadays is getting increasingly stale. Necrophagist is amazing in small amounts, but the latest album from Arsis lacked solid songwriting, seeming technical merely for the sake of being technical. This has somewhat become a trend, but fortunately for us Phalanx chooses not to comply. Don’t be mistaken in thinking that Phalanx are similar to the aforementioned bands; they’re not. It may seem arbitrary to use them as a reference, but the point is that Psychosis uses technicality sparingly, when it really counts towards the mood of each song and not at each and every opportunity. Technicality is merely used as a tool to add another level of intricacy to the music, but this is far from technical death metal. Even so, the lead guitar work on most if not all of the tracks is elaborate and well crafted, lead guitarist Roma Ivakov making good use of arpeggio sweeping and various other techniques. Moreover, the band achieves a strong balance between the music and the vocals; as good as the vocal performances are, they are not overused, and really allow the music to take control of each song. Perhaps to make a point out of this, Phalanx close the album with the instrumental ‘Ultimatum’, which sublimely combines all the elements that shine on Psychosis, bar the vocals.

On the topic of vocals, they are a communal effort by the band; bassist Chris Cox is the main vocalist, but both guitarist Nicholas Rees and drummer Edwin Shoesmith are credited with backing vocals. The majority of the vocals are a midrange growl akin to Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne, but they’re frequently dropped to lower gutturals. Clean vocals are also used and vary depending on where they’re found . Multiple voices create a sinister effect in ‘Thoughts in Exile’, while the same formula creates an astoundingly different effect on the tracks ‘Emptiness’ and ‘Solitude’, both which are the most doom influenced tracks on the album. This is probably the result of the difference in the tone of the accompanying music, further proof of how the atmosphere created can make a huge impact on other elements, such as the vocals.

To credit the band further, repetition is non-existent on Psychosis. There may be similar ideas, but each song easily stands on its own. For example, opener ‘Thoughts in Exile’ is an aggressive and unrelenting track, while the second track ‘Zerzura’ is an almost futuristic sounding song, due greatly to the input of keyboardist Rob Ryan. The doom influence can hardly be heard until the third track ‘Emptiness’, which is an epic piece in itself, and possibly the album’s best. ‘Mountain’ is a staggering track similar to the opener, and as mentioned before instrumental closer ‘Ultimatum’ is a wonderful way to finish the album off. The importance of Ryan’s keyboards on Psychosis cannot be understated. Whether he is taking a more prominent role, or simply adding a smoothing layer of synth to cover the music, he really makes a difference. In that regard, all five members contribute equally, and have their fair share in determining the outcome of the album. Furthermore, the band isn’t afraid to allow its various styles and influences to mesh together, giving the music a unique and diverse sound. Too many similar bands distinctly separate their influences, having a soft passage followed by a heavier one, and so on. This is not to say that Phalanx completely avoid this, but there is generally more liquidity throughout Psychosis, allowing the different influences to gel together more so than they would normally. Little things, like the keyboards over the heavier parts in ‘Mountain’, or the prominent bass line in ‘Ultimatum’, really make more of a difference than one would expect.

While it’d be wrong to come into Psychosis expecting a masterpiece, it most certainly is a well made and enjoyable album. It doesn’t overstay its welcome in terms of playing time (just over 40 minutes), and does not at any stage become repetitive or stagnant. It’s the sort of album you can take pride in listening to, while enjoying it thoroughly. Ultimately, Psychosis is a refreshing album in the wake of a sea of mediocrity. Being just their debut, we can only commend Phalanx for their effort, and hope that they continue with what they’ve started.



Recent reviews by this author
Hoax HoaxHakaristi Hakaristi
Burial Invocation Rituals of the GrotesqueEibon Entering Darkness
Abe Sada / Sub Ordnance Redux / Organ GrinderIron Lung/Mind Eraser/HS/Scapegoat Brutal Supremacy
user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
July 27th 2008



14520 Comments


If you liked In Mourning's Shrouded Divine, definitely check this out. This is very close to a 4.5.
Also, any comments, corrections or suggestions about the review are very welcome.This Message Edited On 07.27.08

BallsToTheWall
July 27th 2008



44164 Comments


Sounds much better than In Vain which I was dissapointed with. Solid review, I didn't catch any mistakes although it's 9 in the morning over here and have no idea why i'm up. Number 59, uhh, I gotta catch up man.

HeadCharge123
July 27th 2008



475 Comments


Good review, I loved 'Shrouded Divine' so I'll pick this up.This Message Edited On 07.27.08

Eakflanderyof
July 27th 2008



2143 Comments


I love the album art for this.

fireaboveicebelow
July 27th 2008



6837 Comments


it's become my procedure to get anything rasputin reviews

Eakflanderyof
July 27th 2008



2143 Comments


Well, I just listened to Mountain and Ultimatum and they were okay. The bass/keyboard break in Ultimatum annoyed the crap out of me, though. I just wanted to punch the bass player while listening to it. It was too predictable.

willfellmarsy
July 27th 2008



3849 Comments


awesome review...myspace songs were excellent so i guess i shallst be getting this in the near future...you win rasputin thumbs up face emoticon...This Message Edited On 07.27.08

AngelPhoenix
July 27th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow dude, frikin sweet review, one of your recent best. These guys really impressed me. Emptiness, Solitude and Ultimatum are killer. This album scared the hell out of me at least twice lol.

SHOOTME
July 27th 2008



2393 Comments


Awesome review

Wizard
July 27th 2008



19244 Comments


Excellent review Rasputin. You really have a knack for discovering some good metal (listening to a few tracks by them right now).
This Message Edited On 07.27.08

Digging: Cloak of Altering - Plague Beasts

rasputin
July 27th 2008



14520 Comments


Cheers for the comments guys. I decided to lower the review rating to a 4, 4.5 just didn't feel right. I still think it's 4.5 worthy, just not for everyone.

AngelPhoenix
July 27th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel the same way. It's like a 4.25.

rasputin
July 27th 2008



14520 Comments


Yeah. My own rating is a 4.5, I've listeneed to this album a few times a day for a number o fdays now, and it's still good.

The bass/keyboard break in Ultimatum annoyed the crap out of me, though. I just wanted to punch the bass player while listening to it. It was too predictable.

Really? I thought the bass line was great, and built up to the melodic riff that followed it.

hermitspancho
July 27th 2008



278 Comments


Another one to hunt down. Great review as ever.

Pebster49
July 28th 2008



2991 Comments


Recommended by Reviewer:

In Mourning - Shrouded Divine
Opeth - Deliverance
Orphaned Land - Mabool (The Story of the Three Sons...)

Well that means I have to get it right?

rasputin
July 28th 2008



14520 Comments


Pretty much. I think I'm a little biased towards it because they're an Australian band, but it's still fantastic.

charlesfishtitz
July 28th 2008



784 Comments


this review is boss.

oh, and thanks for the recs. yeah, ive heard a few of them before, but it's all
good.


im gonna go ahead and start with this.This Message Edited On 07.28.08

rasputin
July 28th 2008



14520 Comments


Sure, no worries. Don't expect too much doom, the third and fourth tracks are the most doomy, and there's parts in both Mountain and Ultimatum. Definitely check out Doom:VS though, I'm hoping to have the review for it up by tomorrow.

charlesfishtitz
July 28th 2008



784 Comments


im sure i'll still be pleased with this.


looking forward to your next review.

AngelPhoenix
July 28th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't decide between a 4 and a 4.5 but I'm actually leaning towards the latter. I didn't like Zerzura the first couple of times I listened, but it's growing on me a lot. From the solo at 3:33 on it just slays.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy