Within a little over a decade of revealing clothing, liquid foundation and musical prowess, the California-based industrial black metal band Psyclon Nine have managed to bleed profusely into many genres of music. They’re just sort of a hodgepodge of aggrotech/hard industrial/black metal/hardcore/eyeliner. Sounds like a headache? That’s the point. With that said, I was not surprised a bit when I gave their new album [Order of the Shadow: Act I] a listen.
The first track is a much needed foreplay into an unbearably energetic track list, and that is its only purpose. The album really begins with a track titled “Shadows Unveiled”, a highly caffeinated surge of static, razor-sharp synths, blast beats, and of course heavily hard-tuned aggrotech screams.
The following track “Suffer Well” incorporates a more progressive element as it introduces guitars to compliment the synth work. Following “Suffer Well” is a track titled “Glamour Through Debris” which I didn’t find particularly notable; it could very well be any Psyclon Nine song from their whole discography picked at random.
With a boring, but almost necessary break from the chaos, “Come and See” provides a minute and a half of distortion, horror samples, and static without any discernible structure or beat. Following this is “Use Once and Destroy”, a wonderfully brutal aggro/metal anthem of fast and heavy riffs, distorted synthesis, and ill intent. The album namesake “Order of the Shadow [Heretic Awakened]” is as dramatic as I expected it to be, but there was nothing I would say that set this song apart from any others.
My personal favorite track happened to be more irregular. A slow, gritty, grinding song titled “Take My Hand While I Take My Life” (I know, the melodrama) is easily the most well-done, powerful track on the album. At this point, [Order of the Shadow: Act I] descends into a short interlude and the final track titled “The Saint and the Valentine”, a dark ballad and appropriate closure to a powerful track list.
For a group whose combined weight is 100 pounds, Psyclon Nine have earned a respectable reputation in the industrial world. So long as they continue to produce albums like [Order of the Shadow : Act I] and not wear shirts, I am a devout fan.