Psychotic Waltz - The God-Shaped Void

Psychotic Waltz The God-Shaped Void cover
Psychotic Waltz
The God-Shaped Void
InsideOut Music
It’s quite hard to realize what expectations might be for Psy-Waltz’s return after an absence of more than two decades. Back in the day the released some four albums in quick succession and then, well Buddy Lackey turned into Devon Graves and continued after a weird and lo fi solo, with Dead Soul Tribe and Shadow Theory, exploring different musical landscapes, but not entirely alien at the same time.
Somehow “The God Shaped Void” manages to sound like the logical successor to “Bleeding” that is sufficiently updated to not sound out of place and takes into consideration, the solo and later career of Devon Graves, outside the band.
What results is a somewhat more melodic and not as thick PsyWaltz that is however still pretty identifiable as themselves as they move forward, anchored but not hooked in the past. This is PsyWaltz evolved and it’s nice to see them able to achieve that.
While it takes a few spins to get into, I think it was one of the easier album of Psychotic Waltz for me to appreciate. Then again f@ck, if I remember exactly how exactly my much younger self responded to the older albums… well, I found them more difficult to appreciate than early Dream Theater, but a child’s play compared to Sieges Even or some other more “difficult” bands that took me a lot of listens to appreciate.
“Devils and Angels” that opens the album is sufficiently melodic and accessible, but has all the right element to intrigue listeners both old and new, to check this album out.
“Stranded” is darker and more atmospheric and feels quite appropriate, with the guitar interplay far more pronounced an overall better track.
“Back to Black” goes for a more typical rock riff to open, but quickly the bridge and chorus turn it into a far more psychedelic and grandiose proposition, that also feels great.
“All The Bad Men” feels like something that could have existed in the later era of the band’s run in the 90s, but I don’t think the band even has to attempt to channel their former selves to appeal. Actually DG’s added experience allows his to add slight nuances to his delivery that get the message across.
“The Fallen” is a lot more ethereal and it manages effortlessly to evoke the classic sound of the band, with “While the Spiders Spin” that follows after the wild climaxing of its predecessor feeling like its dissonant and pomous cousin, that also has a neat dual solo an all.
“Pull the String” gets heavier and more gravely serious with its subject matter, with some doomier Sabbathesque moments getting lightened by some flute bursts… but the lyrics always remaining dark.
“Demystified”, that again features soft flute notes, is mysterious and feels like a mix of Dead Soul Tribe’s extreme lyricism with some of Psychotic Waltz’s psycho-prog tropes.
“Sisters of the Dawn” is very melodic but at the same time, weird and demanding piece that at least vocally branches out wildly, made all the more interesting by its critical lyrical content… Graves goes from harsh to vitriolic (almost sounding like the late Warrel Dane) then to soft and everything in between in this massive and most excellent song, which embodies what prog should be.
Last but not least, “In the Silence”, which has some slight latter day Fates touches, sounds like an ideal song to close the album. It’s like a cornerstone, which ties everything together. It plays to all of the band’s strengths combining and embodying them. Its soft acoustic outro peacefully concludes the album pleasantly.

It’s been quite some time since a prog album has sated my appetite in such a way. In fact, after so many years I had forgotten about this particular craving, but I guess sometimes it’s good to be reminded… So good.