Psyclon Nine
[Order of the Shadow: Act I]


4.5
superb

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
November 13th, 2013 | 55 replies | 11,973 views


Release Date: 11/12/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fitting finale

[Order of the Shadow: Act I] will be the last full-length Psyclon Nine record according to frontman Nero Bellum. Damn. This is a band that has been getting better and better with each new release and their impending retirement from recording is a big loss to the industrial scene as a whole. Psyclon Nine will tour in support of the new record – they might tour for another 10 years for all we know – but in recent interviews Nero Bellum has clearly suggested that as far as albums go, this will be the last full-length record to grace our ears. The "Act I" at the end of the title leaves Bellum the choice to add installments – musical expansion packs if you will – to Order of the Shadow, but as it concludes the trilogy that started with Crwn Thy Frnicatr, it also acts as a vessel on board which Psyclon Nine can eventually fade away into the mist. It is only fitting then that this vessel is Psyclon Nine’s most well-polished and fierce work to date. Order of the Shadow may be more straightforward than We The Fallen was, but it’s also more crushing and more intense while retaining the consistency of its predecessor. There is a lot more crush and a lot less bounce here than on past Psyclon Nine releases, but the album is of the same quality the superb We The Fallen was. Order of the Shadow is the band’s heaviest, most organic album, and I couldn’t see Psyclon Nine going out any other way.

The black metal that feeds Psyclon Nine’s dark industrial flames has never before been shoveled into the mix in such quantities, consequently making Order of the Shadow the band’s meanest album to date. The orchestral vibe found on earlier records rarely permeates the sound anymore, as more savage tones are on show. Already during the first full song "Shadows Unveiled" will the listener be pounded into oblivion by the band’s rediscovered, lethal blend of black metal and aggrotech – a feat that will be repeated many times during the length of this CD. While Psyclon Nine has always been an incredibly intense band, before Order of the Shadow I wouldn’t have called any of their albums truly "crushing". Yet, that’s exactly the impression this record leaves after you’ve given it its first spin: it’s a crushing tour de force, sporting a booming production and high intensity levels, that injects a much-needed dose of adrenaline into the bloodstream. This is no ordinary industrial metal album, but another fine musical representation of the dark arts by Psyclon Nine.

There’s more to Order of the Shadow than unmitigated intensity and heaviness, though. While the pulverizing start of the record firmly transfixes, it’s from the contrastingly catchy single "Use Once And Destroy" that the album really takes off and adroitly exhibits the many sides of Psyclon Nine. "Remains of Eden: II" is possibly the band’s most sinister cut with a hair-rising chorus shout of "give your hands to the reaper," while "Order of the Shadow [The Heretic Awakened]" is every bit worthy of representing the album as a whole with its poisonous bite, cinematic melodies and many pace shifts. The trio ("Take My Hand While I Take My Life," "[Act : I] Penance" and "The Saint and the Valentine") that concludes this album, and in a way also Psyclon Nine’s career, brings forth some much needed serenity and melodicism, providing an (for lack of a better word) epic conclusion to Order of The Shadow. A grand closer was due to wrap everything up and the band did not disappoint, as "The Saint and the Valentine," a half-acoustic elegy with a dramatic main melody, serves as the ultimate late-night farewell.

2013 has not been a good year for industrial metal. Highlights have been few and far between and the only records that truly impressed me were by Mechina and The Amenta – two bands who can’t be fully defined with the "industrial" denominator. Neither can Psyclon Nine for that matter, but as far as electronic metal albums go, Order of the Shadow stands head and shoulders above its competitors (not that there were many, but still). It’s a fantastic final effort from Nero Bellum and co, displaying everything that made us appreciate Psyclon Nine in the first place. Nefarious interludes, dark industrial, ferocious metal, Bellum’s vicious screams and an inherent sense of candor – everything that made Pysclon Nine Psyclon Nine is here in a neatly streamlined package. On the downside, as much as I’m glad they didn’t disappoint and managed to put forth an album that can easily be the face of industrial metal in 2013, I’m gutted by the knowledge that this is most probably the last we see of Psyclon Nine on record. With them we will lose one of the most prolific, forward-thinking bands in industrial metal. The only upside? We have some damn fine records to dust off every now and again, the last of which is also a true highlight alongside We The Fallen.



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user ratings (32)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2013



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really liking this, I'm glad their last album turned out to be great. I wouldn't say it's necessarily better than We The Fallen, but it's on about the same level. The closer might just be my favorite track they've ever done.

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht

Wizard
November 13th 2013



18757 Comments


I really like We the Fallen and I need to hear this.

Ace review buddy!

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2013



9468 Comments


Wonderful work here. Really, some exceptional imagery you provide-- this is easily some of the best writing I've seen from you yet, Magnus.

I know you've expressed interest in constructive criticism in the past. I doubt there's too much to bring up from this review, but if you'd like me to take a closer look at it, just let me know =]

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

Acanthus
November 13th 2013



9506 Comments


Disagree, find this to be pretty weak from what I've heard and a shadow of their former self.

Glad you reviewed it, but I don't think I'm going to like this as much as their proper going away album.

Digging: Symphony X - Paradise Lost

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2013



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the kind words guys.

Jacob - sure, I'm always up for constructive crit/discussion

Acanthus - what exactly do you mean under "proper going away album"? I was lead to believe this will be their last.

Acanthus
November 13th 2013



9506 Comments


We The Fallen was their last album due to Nero's drug abuse and stealing merch money for said drugs, for me it set an awesome bar and ended their career on a high note that I don't feel this can surpass.

Im nitpicky with them as a whole, this being more straightforward doesn't endeer me to them but rather makes me sad that they didn't come back with the style that WTF or Into had.



Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2013



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5


We The Fallen was their last album due to Nero's drug abuse and stealing merch money for said drugs, for me it set an awesome bar and ended their career on a high note that I don't feel this can surpass.
This clears things up. I do agree that WTF was an excellent album and I have a feeling that in the long run I might actually hold that one as my clear cut favorite as well, but atm I'm really glad that I ended up liking this as much as I do. I mean, if this would've failed me, I wouldn't have had a pure-blooded electronic metal album from this year to rave over, and I must have one of those each year haha (this might also explain my elevated score).

Also, I think this, WTF and Frnicatr all compliment each other really well. All exhibit a sound that we can really only attribute to Psyclon Nine, but with minor differences (WTF being the most balanced, this the most straightforward and heavy, Frnicatr the bounciest).

AnEpicDeath
November 13th 2013



188 Comments


Why would you entitle an album "Part I" if you know that you're not going to follow up on it?

Acanthus
November 13th 2013



9506 Comments


Glad it made a bit more sense, and who knows I may end up agreeing with you on this one as well!


bloc
November 13th 2013



34489 Comments


I knew you'd be reviewing this Mag, nice work.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead

LifeFeedsOnLife
November 13th 2013



76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A lot heavier than I was expecting... my favorite track so far is probably Suffer Well.. Good review btw.


Willie
Moderator
November 13th 2013



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

--We The Fallen was their last album due to Nero's drug abuse and stealing merch money for said drugs, for me it set an awesome bar and ended their career on a high note that I don't feel this can surpass.--

How was that their last album if this is their last album?

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

BassDemon333
November 13th 2013



3291 Comments


They just posted this on their Facebook. Awesome review man.

Digging: Chevelle - La Gargola

Acanthus
November 13th 2013



9506 Comments


@Willie - Because they disbanded, it was all over and the group parted ways for the foreseeable future. It was a fitting end to their discog, though as you say this is now, obviously, their latest album.

I just don't enjoy this one, and find Nero's voice to have become even more high pitched/shriek-like.



Gwyn.
November 14th 2013



13971 Comments


Why is this called Act I if it's going to be the last one

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2013



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The "Act I" at the end of the title leaves Bellum the choice to add installments – musical expansion packs if you will – to Order of the Shadow, but as it concludes the trilogy that started with Crwn Thy Frnicatr,
It's all written here my friend. In other words, he hasn't ruled out adding an EP like thing to this in the future, but as far as writing full albums with new ideas go, Psyclon Nine will be done for.

Acanthus
November 14th 2013



9506 Comments


That's pretty fitting, the signed album copy is already sold out on their bandcamp so this must be being received pretty well.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2013



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well yeah it's pretty damn solid if you ask me ;)

MO
November 14th 2013



17353 Comments


fuckin' magnus m/

will read and listen just for you

Digging: Soundtrack - Turok 2: Seeds of Evil OST

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2013



7838 Comments


Great band, I'll definitely check this out. Great review as well :]



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