Psychoprism – Bloodlines (Self Released)

Thursday, 10th July 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Astute followers of DR will remember a live review I did for U.D.O. early in 2013 from The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY. If so, you’ll remember I took in the premiere show for this New Jersey progressive metal outfit Psychoprism as one of the openers. After gaining a few more shows under their collective belts, the band finally unleash their debut 4 song EP Bloodlines, and something that will gain attention from those who love the neo-classical oriented end of this genre.

Containing a few veterans of the scene in their ranks as drummer Kevin Myers played in Gothic Knights and guitarist Bill Visser was a 10-year plus member with Operatika, the quintet establish early on from the opening moments of “Defiance” they are going to infiltrate your ears in a powerful, technical-oriented manner a la their influences (early Queensryche, all periods Symphony X/Dream Theater, and a modest amount of Yngwie Malmsteen shredding/syncopation keyboard/guitar action). The five octave delivery of singer Jess Rittgers gives Psychoprism ample opportunity to go in a variety of dynamically appealing directions, be it the straightforward, power anthem variety of the Kamelot oriented “Wrecker” or the more progressively intriguing “Further Than You” where he’s able to pull out some killer choral harmonies a la Geoff Tate in his The Warning/self-titled EP early prime.

Instrumentally the stars of the show are certainly keyboardist Adam Peterson and guitarist Bill Visser. Their syncopation and shredding abilities rival the Yngwie Malmsteen heydays when Jens Johansson would go toe to toe with the neo-classical axe man, so prepare for longer breaks that push a blitzkrieg of notes into each measure. Never fear though, as “Stained Class” proves that these musicians can also write impressive main riffs and hooks that have a simpler framework, and I’m hopeful that in future songwriting the balance favors strong hooks over mere ‘show off’ shredding for intricacy and personal self-satisfaction measures.

Psychoprism has all the tools to go places in the modern power/progressive metal realm, as long as they focus on a healthy dose of songwriting, more than most will forgive the occasional prolonged Dragonforce-ish sections that may lead to boredom for the untrained musicians. Bloodlines is a great start, and I expect them to only improve over time.

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