Psychotic Waltz
The God-Shaped Void


4.5
superb

Review

by Trey STAFF
February 1st, 2020 | 328 replies


Release Date: 02/14/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Psychotic Waltz isn’t returning to a genre saturated with sound-alikes; they’re returning to a sound some have tried to emulate, but none have managed to reproduce.

In the nineties, punk (and to a lesser extent, alternative) was a large part of San Diego’s culture. It was the sound most the clubs catered to, the genre independent music stores pushed the most, and the style most San Diego bands played. It was the soundtrack for surfers and skaters city-wide – and a city steeped in surfer culture obviously doesn’t make it very easy for a high-concept prog band like Psychotic Waltz to thrive. I’m not saying prog bands didn’t come out of San Diego (Bastille, Catharsis, and Cage come to mind), but they definitely weren’t embraced by the city that birthed them. This is probably a big reason that, despite four albums and a large European following, Psychotic Waltz eventually just faded away. It was a loss for progressive metal, because Psychotic Waltz was always one of the more original bands in the genre.

There weren’t any other bands out there with a vocalist like Buddy (and his fluid, yet robotic, stage presence); and prog wasn’t exactly known for its psychedelic influences, moody atmospheres, strong songwriting, and soulful melodic guitar solos at a time when everyone wanted to emulate Dream Theater. Twenty-four years later, the musical climate has changed and prog has diversified beyond its original narrow focus, but there still isn’t another band that sounds like Psychotic Waltz. That’s why it’s so awesome that Psychotic Waltz have return after more than two decades with the release of The God-Shaped Void, picking up right where Bleeding finished.

Over the course of their first four albums, Psychotic Waltz had slowly been replacing the overt prog influences with a darker, moodier, more atmospheric approach, and The God-Shaped Void continues that trend while pushing the moody feel even further. If you’ve heard one of the pre-release songs (“Devils and Angels” and “All the Bad Men”), you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The God Shaped-Void is made up of tracks built on the chunky riffs first introduced in Bleeding, soaring guitar leads and solos, keyboards and electronics, energetic percussion, and haunting vocal melodies; but in a package that is a little less streamlined than Bleeding, but not as tangent-filled as Mosquito.

It’s an album that discards the neck-breaking tempo changes and chaotic guitar parts of their earliest releases for a more accessible, yet melancholic, sound. It’s a sound you have to allow yourself to become immersed in, because there isn’t any ‘holy-shit’ prog moments where the music will suddenly hit you in the head with a random left-turn. There are ‘holy-shit’ moments, however, such as the sudden heavy crescendo that closes “Devils and Angels” and the chorus of “The Fallen” that builds in intensity every time it repeats. There’s also “Sisters of the Dawn” which is the perfect embodiment of everything The God-Shaped Void does right, whittled down to one six-minute forty-one second track.

Nostalgia may cause people to forget that Psychotic Waltz had been moving towards a darker, more atmospheric, sound ever since their second release. I say this because it would be a shame for them to come into The God-Shaped Void expecting something it is not. The God-Shaped Void is not a rehash of A Social Grace or even Mosquito – it’s not even a rehash of Bleeding (despite sharing some similarities). What it is, though, is a natural progression of the Psychotic Waltz sound; the same progression they were making before taking an extended break. It’s a near-flawless album that puts the feel and ‘song’ ahead of progressive showmanship while still showcasing each member’s immense talent. Also, unlike some other comeback releases we’ve seen, Psychotic Waltz isn’t returning to a genre saturated with sound-alikes; they’re returning to a sound some have tried to emulate, but none have managed to reproduce.



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user ratings (203)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
February 1st 2020


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Devils And Angels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u1V8G43ytE

All The Bad Men: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Heqhw0Z1o

As soon as the album is released, I'd also recommend "Sisters of the Dawn"

Digging: Delacey - Black Coffee

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2020


8693 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Album stream:

http://musicmp3.ru/artist_psychotic-waltz__album_the-god-shaped-void.html



Great review, can’t wait to listen the album in its entirety.



I like how you explain why PW weren’t/aren’t big within the San Diego district.



Universally though, what kept them behind was the lack of proper management and the signing to rip-off labels.



Be that as it may, it can be said that the lack of managerial go-betweens, may have allowed PW to become artistically, the band they are now, along with the perennial quest of European metalheads for good underground metal.





One minor suggestion



-- the music most the independent music stores pushed



the music independent music stores pushed the most

Gyromania
February 1st 2020


29718 Comments


Oh shit! Definitely gonna check this one out, you make it sound really good

mindleviticus
February 1st 2020


10099 Comments


This looks interesting

ChaoticVortex
February 1st 2020


944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review warms my heart. The teaser tracks sounded very good, but I'm sure they will sound even better in the context of the whole album. So glad these guys could finally finish this album.

Willie
Moderator
February 1st 2020


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Voivod: I never knew about any label or manager issues. I got my PW CDs straight from the Blue Meanie Records source ;) Also, I took your suggestion. Much better.



@Gyromania: It is. I was definitely surprised since there was such a huge gap.



@mindle: Check it out in a few weeks.



@Chaotic: This is definitely an album that works better as an album. ha ha.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2020


8693 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

-- I never knew about any label or manager issues



In Greece, I only remember seeing Mosquito in CD in the '90s at a local record store, and that was it.



It was almost impossible to buy their albums at a reasonable price or to find them at all, I remember Metal Hammer Hellas reissuing A Social Grace for a one-off monthly issue in the late '90s, which was a big thing for the local fanbase at the time.



The only other time Psychotic Waltz albums were seen on record stores, was when Metal Blade decided to reissue them in double CDs in the mid '00s, after years of fan petitions to do so.

Friday13th
February 1st 2020


7054 Comments


Woa, definitely gonna check. Their first two albums are killer but I still haven't heard their last two.

Source
February 1st 2020


16541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they rule especially bleeding

Source
February 1st 2020


16541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hopefully this exposes the band to more people on sputnik

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 1st 2020


33683 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Was intrigued by the lead single and have been looking to branch out more. I never heard any of their stuff from 1996 or prior, so I'll be coming into the experience as fresh as anyone lol.

Digging: Ellis - Born Again

Willie
Moderator
February 1st 2020


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's actually kind of exciting, because you won't have any baggage or expectations. Looking forward to seeing what you think.

sonictheplumber
February 2nd 2020


10985 Comments


wish these fuckers would play a non-fest atlanta date sometime. they were at progpower last year but im not dropping 100 bucks to see this band play 40 minutes after a bunch of power metal bands. but yeah this should rule

Willie
Moderator
February 2nd 2020


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe they will now that they're releasing a full album.

Casavir
February 2nd 2020


4095 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Still betting on the first two albums being the best but I'll check this out.

namsaap
February 2nd 2020


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The new album is fantastic! Favorite song: Pull The Strings

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2020


11854 Comments


So glad that these guys (and In the Woods...) have returned. Haven't checked the whole thing but the singles are really good.

Willie
Moderator
February 2nd 2020


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

--Still betting on the first two albums being the best but I'll check this out.--

Bleeding was my first Psychotic Waltz album, and as of right now it's still my favorite. It's more instant and riffy than this one, but with the more expansive songs I could see this moving into my number one spot after more familiarity.



--So glad that these guys (and In the Woods...) have returned. Haven't checked the whole thing but the singles are really good.--

In the Woods... have been back; right? They've released two albums recently. A little different than their earliest stuff, but I liked them.

teamster
February 2nd 2020


4775 Comments


I’ve never given this band 100%. More like I’ve had a cup of coffee with them. Great review my dude, I will def check this out.

Digging: Huntsmen - Mandala of Fear

LunaticSoul
February 2nd 2020


1334 Comments


90s prog in 2020. . . ok

Some of the bits in the singles are musically cool, but I've outgrown this genre to death. This is imho just for fans of the band and hardly deserving a 4.5



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