Psygnosis - Neptune

9 songs
77:32 minutes
***** ****


I guess it would be wrong to claim to Psygnosis from the Burgundy region in France have ever been a metal band like any other. In fact, from the very beginning they decided not to have a flesh and blood drummer, but instead to rely on programmed beats. But it was only after their second longplayer Human Be[ing] in 2014 when they decided to replace their vocalist with a cellist. So they ended up with two guitarists, one of whom was also in charge of programming and samples, a bass player and the guy on the cello who also plays in post black metal band In Cauda Venenum.

In the past, the bands albums were always about an hour long, and even their EPs made it often to forty minutes. Their third longplayer Neptune is their longest effort so far, at nearly seventy-eight minutes even a few minutes longer than their last yearís leftover compilation. And yet there are only nine tracks on the album, three of which make it over ten minutes, and none goes below the four-minute border. They donít want to be considered an accessible pop band after all.

The four guys describe their music as instrumental progressive extreme metal, which is a rather good description without giving the music complete justice though. Actually there are at least four different faces to the bandís sound. First we have the metal component, with heavily distorted guitars that like to flirt with complex rhythms, so that we have a very progressive djent feeling. Whenever the guitars tone it down and take their time to build up suspense, the band shows that they also have an affinity for post rock ŗ la Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor. The cello often adds a very classical dimension, that, embedded into the overall sound, enriches the music instead of robbing it of its power. Finally, the programmed beats, while often indiscernible from a live drummer, occasionally head into trippy electronic territory, which once again makes the music even more fascinating.

The musicians even have a sense of humour, or how would you explain that there is one track titled Psygnosis Is Shit? Well, they definitely are not! Neptune is not an easy-listening album. With an average length of over eight and a half minutes per song, you will have to bring the necessary amount of patience. Most tracks really play well with a dramatic sense of dynamics, with soft and loud parts alternating. A lot is happening, in the songs and on the album as a whole. Fans of metallic post rock Ė somehow Psygnosis donít sound like a post metal band to me Ė will find a lot to discover on the atmospheric and dense Neptune, which really is a very intriguing and exciting album from an as yet unsigned band.

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