Psion - Psion album review
Promising debut release from ex-Haken member
Initially attracting attention for the presence of ex-Haken bassist Tom MacClean, this EP represents the long-awaited first studio output from Psion. For all its fun, atmospheric bombast, the opener Entranced nearly outstays its welcome. It’s refreshing in a sense to hear musicians so unafraid to front-load a release with something this self-indulgent, but the snappier movie trailer-like first minute and a half would have served just as well as a tongue-in-cheek intro. Luckily for them, they come out swinging on second track Void, the first of three nearly 10-minute songs that make up the rest of the EP. Vocalist Bryan Ramage seems initially to be a pure classic rock frontman, but when weirder rhythm parts materialise, there’s a welcome Devin Townsend influence to his hooks. On the sprawling closer Tyranny, the band channel Dream Theater and flirt with the gallop of death metal, but for the most part stay within the groovier rhythms of mainstream progressive metal – there’s more chugging and headbanging than you can shake a stick at. Instrumentally, the members are no slackers, but Nik Wolf’s lead guitar parts deserve extra credit for being technical without being over the top, or losing the grasp of what an appropriate lead melody might be.