Saturday, 2 February 2013

THE FLOWERS OF EVIL

Psycho Praxis began life in Brescia in 2004 but it wasn't until 2011 that the current line up featuring Andrea Calzoni (vocals, flute), Paolo Vacchelli (guitars), Paolo Tognazzi (keyboards), Matteo Marini (bass) and Matteo Tognazzi (drums) was completed. In 2012 they released an interesting debut album on the independent label Black Widow Records, “Echoes From The Deep”, managing to mix vintage sounds and new ideas with excellent results. Well, the legacy of bands such as Pink Floyd, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple or Biglietto per l'Inferno weighs heavily on the overall sound but there's no plagiarism and the song-writing skills of Psycho Praxis are pretty good. According to an interview with the band “Echoes From The Deep” is a concept album about a passage from an emotional state to another and the art work by Michele Armiento in some way depicts the content of the music and lyrics. 
 

The frenzied opener “Privileged Station” conjures up the vision of people running downhill chased from their paradise by a whimsical God that is observing them rubbing his hands. But some people is going against the tide and hiding their sins they manage to reach a privileged station in a free zone, soon followed by other rebels... Well, this track makes me think of a poem by Charles Baudelaire from his Flowers of Evil... “Race de Caïn, au ciel monte / Et sur la terre jette dieu!”.

The following “P.S.M.” begins softly, with acoustic guitar and a touch of organ. The vocals draw the image of an inmate who is waiting for the hangman in his cell. The atmosphere is dark, there's no room for hope any more, even the afterlife seems unhappy... “The master comes again / He grips his long staff / It's a hand of glass...”. Then the soul of the inmate comes out of the body and stares at the gallows pole where the corpse is still dangling... 
 

“Hoodlums” recalls Pink Floyd and takes you to the dark side of the moon. The lyrics conjure up some lost memories in a snowy winter morning. A child looks at a bunch of rascals who are passing by... “Come with us where the sun is shining / Leave your tools and have some days... “. The child heeds their calls, he follows them and throws away his life.

The reflective, melancholic “Black Crow” is a kind of desperate glance into the falsity of a world that behind the window of your room seems no more real than on the screen of your TV. The music and lyrics depict a lonely man and a crow with a human face while reality and unreality are blurred... “My dear bird, now I see you ripping the sounds, eating the news / Through your screams that cover all sounds / I recognize the sweetness of the world...”.


The excellent, lively instrumental “Awareness” takes you out of the dark and leads the conclusive “Noon” which describes in music and lyrics the spiritual rebirth of a man after a troubled period. The crow becomes an eagle and the new soul can now hunt after a new being...

Well, to be honest I think that the concept is a bit foggy. Moreover, the band chose to sing in English and the vocals are not always clear, every now and again they sound even awkward. Maybe if Psycho Praxis would have sung in their native language the result would have been better... Anyway the music is really good and this album deserves a try!

Psycho Praxis: Echoes From The Deep (2012). Other opinions:
Michael "Aussie-Byrd-Brother": The ferocious energy and surging power on display throughout this debut album by new Italian band Psycho Praxis shows so much variety and highly promising talent that it's already drawing a lot of attention in the short time since it's release in November 2012. In addition to a kicking electric energy and frequently manic vocal delivery, the swirling flute crosses English band Jethro Tull with Italy's Quella Vecchia Locanda and Osanna, while the dirty organ/guitar interplay bridges Atomic Rooster with a rough Biglietto Per L'inferno RPI sound. This mixture of influences in addition to the use of English (though charmingly accented) vocals seems to be an attempt by the band to appeal to a world-wide audience, and there's no reason to think it won't happen on the strength of this magnificent first album... (read the complete review HERE).

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