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THOUGHT CHAMBER – “Psykerion” Review By Metal Music Archives

thought chamber cd artadg211288 Psykerion (2013) is the second full-length album by US progressive metal act Thought Chamber. Given the time between the release of the album and debut release Angular Perceptions (2007) it's perhaps no surprise that the returning band has seen some significant line-up changes, with only Michael Harris (guitars) and Ted Leonard (vocals) returning from the line-up which recorded the debut. Despite the majority of the debut being written by Harris, Psykerion is quite a different progressive metal affair.
Where Angular Perceptions was relatively straightforward for progressive metal, focusing on a song-based format, Psykerion is a lot more adventurous with the different sounds going into it. It tends towards a more technical brand of guitar playing while also at times including nods towards power metal riffs as well as some lighter sounds ranging from jazzy references to symphonic prog. A sixteen track album, Psykerion tends to feature quite a lot of brief tracks, particularly during the first half (half defined by track numbers rather than overall length). They tend to touch on a certain idea in the music before moving on with perfect flow, like they're part of one larger piece. There are also a couple of longer tracks in the form of Behind the Eyes of Ikk and Transcend, both of which number among my favourites from Psykerion.This album has been a grower for me. At first it seemed more than competent; the musicianship on display here is undeniably at a very high level. Despite that it didn't drag me in the way Angular Perceptions previously had. I guess this could be because this new incarnation of Thought Chamber have turned their prog dial up to eleven leaving less room for the catchy hooks of songs like A Legend's Avalon as well as requiring a bit more time to properly take in and appreciate. Time is often the key with ambitious progressive rock or metal albums and Psykerion is no exception, and after a few listens I've come to not only appreciate the differences in the album compared to its predecessor but also to regard it as the superior effort. Aside from the technical progressive metal parts there's some nice softer parts including another favourite of mine called Light Year Time. Their tendency to lean towards symphonic prog causes the album to have several moments that wouldn't sound out of place on a Neal Morse/Transatlantic release.Psykerion has been a thoroughly surprising release for me. After so many years of not hearing anything about the band I had resigned myself to what seemed the inevitably fact at the time that Thought Chamber was going to be one of those band's who made one album and then disappeared forever. I'm very happy that didn't turn out to be the case and even more so that now they're back they're better than ever. Psykerion stands as one of 2013's high quality progressive metal releases, even going as far as to blow field leaders Dream Theater and their latest self-titled effort out the water. Although it took a few listens to convince me, I have to say that it's earned itself a top tier rating and has pushed Thought Chamber into the big league of progressive metal.96/100
Kev Rowland It has taken six years for Thought Chamber to follow-up their debut album, but there has been a lot going on with those involved, which has also seen quite a change in the line-up. Michael Harris (guitar, keyboards, harmony vocals) has managed to get Ted Leonard back again, even though these days he is not only singer in Enchant and Affector but of course Spock’s Beard, and the line-up has been completed by new members drummer Mike Haid (David T. Chastain, Joe Stump, etc.), bassist Jeff Plant and keyboardist Bill Jenkins (also of Enchant). The result is one of the most essential prog metal albums I have ever come across. Imagine Dream Theater style complex runs combined with the melody and layering of Kansas and one might just close to how majestic and incredible this album is.This is the sort of album that I call a “review killer”, in that once I played it I just kept playing it and wasn’t getting to all of the other albums I should be reviewing. It also means that by the time I came to write about it I am actually at a loss to describe what I am hearing. Like all reviewers, we do what we do because we love music and want to share our views about it, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy everything we get sent to review and there are times when I am playing something and I question my very sanity as to why I am doing it. But then, albums like this one come around and it makes everything else more than worthwhile. If I had come across this band in the press or on the web and had seen that Ted was involved then I would have been intrigued as I have always loved Enchant (and the new SB album is undoubtedly their best since ‘Snow’), but in this case I was sent a download by the label so just grabbed it. As is normal for me, I didn’t read who was involved until I had played it through a few times so that I wouldn’t be influenced and could instead concentrate on the music. To be honest, I had convinced myself that Steve Walsh had been brought in for some songs, such is his influence on Ted in this album.Complexity, simplicity, melody, dischord, lounge, metal, it’s all here. This is the complete package with every musician giving their all, with incredible note density and a locked-in feel that is hard to describe. Prog Metal honestly doesn’t get any better than this. Whatever you could ever want from the genre, it’s here, in spades… www.insideout.de
1. Inceptus (2:40) 2. Exodus (1:47) 3. Psykerion: The Question (3:03) 4. In the Words of Avakus (1:52) 5. Light Year Time (5:33) 6. Kerakryps (5:27) 7. The Black Hole Lounge (1:08) 8. Circuits of O.D.D. (1:54) 9. Behind the Eyes of Ikk (8:36) 10. Isle of Bizen (4:34) 11. Xyrethius II (4:30) 12. Recoil (3:17) 13. Breath of Life (3:04) 14. Transcend (9:40) 15. Planet Qwinkle (4:41) 16. Inner Peace (2:07)Total Time 63:53

Line-up/Musicians

- Ted Leonard / Vocals - Michael Harris / Guitars - Jeff Plant / Bass - Bill Jenkins / Keyboards - Mike Haid / Drums

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