The Psyke Project
posted on 9/2008 By:
Now If I told you this album was written by a Scandanavian hardcore band and was produced by Tue Madsen, what would be some of the first words that came to your mind? Commercial? Glossy? Generic? How about complex, artistic or even challenging? If you're like me you probably would have checked off the first three boxes and left the latter three blank. You'd also be wrong, like I was, about The Psyke Project's latest album Apnea. Blissfully wrong.
All you guys that follow the extreme music in the lower Scandanavian countries may be more hip to what's going with the hardcore scene than I am, but I did not expect this. The Psyke's Project's Apnea is a well written, beautifully produced and unremittingly heavy post-hardcore album that might be some people's surprise of the year.
The most immediate reference point for me is Buried Inside's Chronoclast. Like their Canadian counterparts, The Psyke Project take straightforward hardcore songwriting principles and mutilates them until they are almost unrecognizable.
Album opener “The Voice of Commandment” is an excellent introduction to the album, though a little too obvious in its adherence to Neurosis conventions. Songs like “I Get Paralyzed” and “Panic,” however, display that The Psyke Project are actually committed to doing something a little different. The former initially sounds like a cut from Chronoclast before the band rips off what is one of the weirdest and frankly discomforting sounding breakdowns I have ever heard. The later sounds like a chopped and screwed version of a Born From Pain song.
So, great, these guys sound like Buried Inside and they write weird hardcore songs. What's so awesome about that?
I think what impresses me most about this band is that, while they're certainly a concerted effort being made to eschew traditional songwriting norms, the greater focus is on writing parts that are resonant and memorable. If the band strikes upon a good progression, they'll ride with it, but won't abuse it. “Poems Written By Kings,” displays the band's songwriting instincts especially well.
There's are bouncy chord progression that's punctuated by a sextet of rich, jangly chords that is repeated just enough to be one the most memorable moments on the album. It's invited numerous plays from me.
Also, Mr. Madsen does an excellent job of rendering some of the album's more bizarre excursions in a way that allows the listener to catch all the nuances. He may produce some pretty bad bands, but the man is very, very good at making sure bands get their point across to listeners.
I guess the downside here is that The Psyke Project will attract some listeners with inaccurate expectations. This may be produced by Tue Madsen, but it's definitely not a Mnemic album. The Psyke Project may be Scandanavian, but they don't sound like Born From Pain. And, this may be a post-hardcore album, but it's nothing like Oceanic. Apnea really is an album that actually defies some expectations. In 2008, that alone should make an album worth your listen.
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