THOUGHT CHAMBER – Psykerion
Six years removed from their debut album "Angular Perceptions", progressive rock/ metal act Thought Chamber return with "Psykerion", an ambitious 63 minute album with 16 tracks of varying lengths. This is not an effort to understand in one sitting- as the intricacy, musical chemistry, and obvious talent from the quintet should not be lost on any set of ears. Michael Harris as a guitarist/ keyboardist will often layer frantic rhythms over neo-classical breaks, then twist things up with furious acoustic strumming on one of my early favorites "Psykerion: The Question".
Yes, Rush, and Styx come to mind very often, along with a little bit of Zebra and Dream Theater – and Ted Leonard continues to prove his high class vocal status remains in check – be it the lower emotional delivery on "In the Words of Avakus" or the versatility on display in the 8:36 epic "Behind the Eyes of Ikk" where more of his Steve Walsh-like power and control takes shape. Bassist Jeff Plant flexes his upper fret free flow skills on the ballad "Isle of Bizen" – the guitars cascading in a Beatles meets "Crystal Ball"-era Styx way.
Thought Chamber can often subdue the progressive parts with the right repetitive refrain- check out the opening note bends for "Xyrethius, Pt. 2" or the atmospheric keyboards throughout "Breath of Life". Because let’s face it- the best bands in progressive rock and metal know that for all the technical prowess and fluid intricacy one or more members deliver, if no one can remember a melody, a riff, or a total song- it’s all for naught.
"Psykerion" should strike a welcome chord with fans of 70’s and 80’s progressive rock/ metal. Thought Chamber may have been away for a few years, but they come back with an excellent record that I can see myself coming back to forever.