Psychoprism – R.I.S.E. (Pure Steel Records)Friday, 21st January 2022
Establishing themselves in a US progressive/power metal field with solid musicianship principles, Psychoprism from NY/NJ returns for their sophomore full-length R.I.S.E. five years after their Pure Steel Records debut Creation. The five-piece possess a strong pedigree through past recordings and bands, including work with Gothic Knights, Operatika, and Dead City Crown – choosing to elevate horizons through these eleven main tracks (plus a re-recording for “Friendly (Re) Fire” as a bonus cut).
Beyond the sensational energy and obvious skilled musical interplay between all these gentlemen, it’s obvious throughout that the band took more risks in terms of dynamics, atmosphere, plus shades of lighter passages along with heavier tones. The textures, flow, and control from the lower range to eagle high screams coming from Jess Rittgers will make many think of Geoff Tate, Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin, and even shades of Midnight from Crimson Glory on “Beyond the Perceived”. The epic, slower nature of “Devil in the Details” sits in that early Dio/Black Sabbath meets Visions-era Stratovarius realm, the bass work from Erick Hugo possessing that lurching, bottom groove that solidifies the driving/pulsating keyboard parts Adam Peterson weaves in and out. When you have an over hour-long record to process, there better be plenty of diversity – and that’s where songs like “Go Down Fighting” and “Opportunity Knocks” come into play. The former contains a lot of the bite and savage riffing plus neoclassical power touches that rival Yngwie Malmsteen plus old classic Ozzy Osbourne and Loudness, while the latter opens in an airy/spacious manner, quietly transforming in majestic mid-tempo heaviness similar to Queensrÿche meets Symphony X. And for those who love speedy, dazzling displays of axe dexterity where you can hear hundreds of neoclassical notes and arpeggio sweeps that make jaws drop in awe, there is plenty to devour from guitarist Bill Vesser from first song to last. Check out his thoughtful melodic phrasing to a vivid conclusion for the title track lead break as one example of the man’s upper echelon command of the guitar.
Probably niche in appeal stateside versus overseas when it comes to the sophistication and exemplary proficiency on display, R.I.S.E. showcases this East Coast act continuing to develop their skills, put them into impressive, memorable compositions and hopefully gaining more ground (and acclaim) in the process.