Psychotic Waltz - A social grace
The music on this album was ingenius when it was released back in 1990 and in my mind that status has not changed to the day. Psychotic Waltz play superior progressive metal with a rawness that is at times numbingly beautiful. Does that sound weird? I guess you just have to listen to it then :) Psychotic Waltz created four albums before they sadly broke up and A social grace is their debut.

Unfortunately Psychotic Waltz never got the widespread recognition that they deserved, but their die-hard fans stuck with them to the end. The band broke up in 1997 leaving the world with 4 full length albums of incredible quality, Into the everflow is my favourite with A social grace, Bleeding and Mosquito following close behind. After the breakup they released the Live & Archives Double CD, which all their fans should try to find.

That this is a debut album mostly shows in the production department, which is a little lacking. The recording volume is a little too low and I have to adjust the bass and treble on my stereo to get a proper sound when listening at high volume. Still, the production gives the album it's instantly recogniseable sound and the raw atmosphere is all over it. After getting used to the album I can not imagine it sounding another way.

I could write page after page about the genius I see in Psychotic Waltz, but I'll try to be quick and precise here and spare you, what might turn out to be inane babble :)

First I have to mention Buddy Lackey. His voice is one of a kind. He can sing incredibly soft and beautiful at one moment, and then a second later he shifts into a menacing scream of rage, all the time making it seem like the most natural thing. Most importantly, the emotion is always there no matter how he sings.

An essential part of the Psychotic Waltz sound is the two guitarists Dan Rock and Brian McAlpine. They have written almost all the music on A social grace. In many of the songs they play together in a way that is nothing short of ingenius. It is not easy to describe, but should be heard to be understood how extremely cool these two guitarists sound.

The drums play a big part in holding the always changing and sometimes very complex music together. It is a huge compliment to the drummer (Norm Leggio) when I find it interesting to just sit down and focus on the drums and not feel bored. The changing rythms and small touches in the playing is very entertaining.

...And the devil cried starts out with a strangely creepy rythm and soon changes into a heavy riff. Buddy Lackeys voice has a menacing feel to it here. Some of the changes in this song are extremely cool and they just keep coming. Through all the twists and turns the song takes the overall feel is still very much in place. All the instruments work together so well in this song. This is one of the easier to get into songs.

One of my absolute favourite songs is Another Prophet song. This song pretty much defines Psychotic Waltz. It has everything. The flow of this song is amazing, with drums and guitars working together like a dream and Buddy's atmospheric voice on top being the icing on the cake. A fantastic song with so much atmosphere and so many ingenius touches. The drum sound is one, the way the dual guitars play together is another, Buddy Lackey's harmonies is a third, his menacing scream a fourth, the fantastic middle part yet another, and... yes, I really could go on forever... This song is a killer.

Songs like Halo of Thorns and I remember are easiest to draw forward when I say the music is raw and beautiful at the same time. I remember is written solely by Buddy Lackey and is dedicated to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. This song is a ballad where the acoustic guitar and the keys create a great background for the intimate voice of Buddy. Bringing out the flute in this song gives it an epic touch, and makes the emotional impact of this statement to the world, even more powerful.

Another example where the raw and the beautiful meet is in my album favourite Only in a dream. This song may seem simple at first, but it has so many layers and there is something special in here that just speaks to me.

Halo of thorns gives a glimpse of the emotional power of Buddy Lackey's voice. Starting out with a beautiful atmospheric acoustic guitar passage, Halo of Thorns is the perfect background for Buddy Lackey to show his fantastic way of singing. The slow parts are very beautiful and the way the song develops is quite original.

The weirdness and diversity of Psychotic Waltz really shows itself in songs like Successor where some effects give a great vibe, In this place with its psychedelic spoken part and the instrumental Sleeping dog. These songs have many cool moments of inspired genius, but I miss a little something to give them the same status as masterpieces as the songs I mentioned before.

I of the storm is another favourite. The many cool parts that it has should be discovered by listening. A couple to linger on would be the excellent way the intro changes into the verse riff and of course the cool ending this song has. The drum playing is brilliant throughout the song. To say it shortly: This is entertaining music!

A psychotic Waltz is yet another fantastic song. A beautiful piano part starts the song and gives way to one of Buddy Lackey's best vocal performances on the album. He sings in a way that is very controlled and held back, before breaking out at just the right moments. This way of singing underlines the lyrics in a way that sends shivers down my spine.

A little way in, this song has one of the those devastating beautiful parts that the band would be perfecting on Into the everflow. I feel the immense power the whole band uniting in this song. The very true lyrics are sung with the passion and perfection, they need to make an impact, and the soulful guitar playing fits in perfect. The way the piano enters the sound again at the end is very powerful and a touch of genius. A powerful song about being true to yourself.

The final three songs, Spiral Tower, Strange and Nothingcontinue developing this wonderful music and have the same high quality as the other songs. Even though they contain even more magic parts that I would like to mention, I won't go into details with them. The best thing about music like this, is discovering the magic yourself.

The only band I can compare Psychotic Waltz to is Fates Warning, but only in the sense that no two of their albums sound alike. The music is not that compareable, but the genius of the people behind the instruments is of similar class. If you like progressive Metal or just like musical challenges and have not listened to Psychotic Waltz yet, then you have one major musical discovery yet to enjoy.

This is music that I will never get tired of. Overall the music is always interesting, entertaining, melodic and never gets so complex that I feel lost or out of touch with it. New things appear even after countless listens and the wonder that is Psychotic Waltz almost feels too big to be described by mere words. Well, I gave it a try :)

Written by Steen
Monday, February 3, 2003
Show all reviews by Steen

Ratings

Steen: 9.5/10

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RevelationZ Comments


Comment by GasMaster (Anonymous) - Friday, May 2, 2003
One of my favourite albums! I agree with you 100%. Buddy Lackeys voice always comforts me when I listen to Psychotic Waltz as do the music itself. Another prophet song is also my favourite song on this album. Anyone who likes this album should check out Spiral Architect's Sceptic Universe released in 2002. The singer sounds a lot like Lackey...


Comment by Steen (Staff) - Monday, June 2, 2003
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Comments: 518
Cool. The Spiral Architect CD has been on my "To buy" list for some time now. I hope to find it soon.

Posted by Steen (Staff)
Monday, June 2, 2003

Comment by Jeroen (Anonymous) - Friday, April 4, 2003
Great article, brought back some good memories about a special person Buddy Lackey who's name is Devon Graves now.


Comment by ShatteredSky (Anonymous) - Friday, October 17, 2003
It takes a while, but then you will cry ... cry for the loss of this genius ... This music is nearly undescribable.


Comment by lovestone_blind (Anonymous) - Thursday, February 5, 2004
Great article !
Nice description of this band, you would have made me ordered their cd's, had i not already got them (all). There is only one thing i disagree at. It's the comparison with Fates Warning. Though i really dig FW , i don't think they even get anywhere near PW. Well so far the whining....great article !













Review by Steen
None

Released by
Rising Sun - 1990

Tracklisting
01 - And The Devil Cried
02 - Halo Of Thorns
03 - Another Prophet's Song
04 - Sucessor
05 - In This Place
06 - I Remember
07 - Sleeping Dogs
08 - I Of The Storm
09 - A Psychotic Waltz
10 - Only In A Dream
11 - Spiral Tower
12 - Strange
13 - Nothing


Style
One of a kind Progressive Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Psychotic Waltz - Official Website

Other articles
Into the Everflow - (Steen)

Everything - (Steen)

Power of Metal Tour - Live With Nevermore, Symphony X, Mercenary and Thaurorod - Hamburg, March 17th 2011 - (Steen)



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Ratings
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7 - Very good
8 - Outstanding
9 - Genius
10 - Masterpiece
666 - Unrated

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