Psychotic Waltz-A Social Grace (Rising Sun) 1990
1. "...And the Devil
The debut of one of the most original, progressive metal bands ever. Unfortunately they would never see the popularity of bands like Dream Theater or Fates Warning. The thing about most prog-metal bands is that they tend to either sound like on of those two bands. Psychotic Waltz don't sound like either of them and have created a niche for themselves. The band writes dynamic, heavy, aggressive metal. Singer Buddly Lackey has a unique style for metal, but at times has an uncanny resemblance to Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). This is especially noticeable on the Tull influenced ballad "I Remember," a song that is completed with a flute solo. According to the band's web site, this CD made "Album of the Month" in many Euro-mags, including Rock Hard & Metal Hammer, the year it was released. I can certainly see why. Anyone who is a fan of progressive metal and doesn't own at least one CD by these guys is missing out.
Psychotic Waltz-Into the Everflow (Dream Circle) 1992
1. "Ashes" (5:09)
I got this disc in a trade from a guy who thought I might dig them after reviewing my cd want list. Well, he was right. This is a spectacular disc. I'd call it technical, progressive, power metal but it also contains elements of psychedelia and speed metal as well. Picture early Pink Floyd mixed with Metal Church, King's X and some Sepultura thrown in for good measure. "Butterfly" is of particular interest as it contains small bits of some great 70's classics over top of a Brazilian beat. I will be getting some more of these guys, you can bet on that.
Psychotic Waltz-Mosquito (Bullet Proof/IRS) 1994
According to the band's web site, many of their hardcore fans felt this album was a commercial "sellout." WHAT? Perhaps their are some more evident hooks and certainly the band admits that they were purposely writing slightly less complicated material for this release, but a sellout? This album absolutely shreds. Anyone who dismissed the band at this point were just being stupid. 'Mosquito' is every bit as good as 'Into the Everflow.' Of course as of writing this review I had not ever heard the band's debut so I suppose I cannot accurately compare this to their entire back catalogue. However, this is not even remotely radio oriented music. Psychotic Waltz's idea of simpler songs is still more technical, complex and creative than some of the biggest bands to come out in 1994. Even the mellower songs like "Shattered Eye" are not the sappy ballad that filled the airwaves, but a haunting melody mixing acoustic passages and flutes with heavy guitar riffs. It's actually quite stunning! I can't even think of many comparisons, except for possibly the Galactic Cowboys, and that only in their creativity, aggressiveness and some of the vocal melodies. The instrumental at the end of the disc is hidden 8:20 into track ten. This disc was recorded in 1994 at the world famous "Record Plant" in Los Angeles and mixed in Florida at the infamous Morrisound Studios, famous for putting out incredible discs by band like Death and Iced Earth.
Psychotic Waltz-Bleeding (Bulletproof/Interscope) 1996
1. "Faded" (3:45)
Psychotic Waltz' fourth and final studio album is a perfect blend of the band's first three albums. The music contained herein is a mixture of the groove of "Mosquito," the gothic heaviness of "Everflow," and the heavy technical songwriting of "Social Grace." All this and the best production the band has ever had. To bad this was the last studio discs for these guys.
Psychotic Waltz-Dark Millennium (Institute for Arts) 1999
1. "Trust" (2:32)
The first half of this odds and sods disc is all instrumental. The band describes the first seven tracks as a soundtrack for reaching the higher spheres into narcotic dances. (OK! Whatever! Drugs are stupid, but I can understand the musical interpretation here.) The next two tracks are described as twisted metal riffs, melodic acoustic passages, dark harmonious winding solos and sci-fi synth programming. Excellent description. The music is quite good, especially tracks 7-9 which are previews of Brian McAlpine's Darkstar 2 project. The whole first half of the disc sounds like the soundtrack to a spacey sci-fi film. After owning the disc for only a couple weeks, I have played it numerous times, which shows how infectious the music is. To go along with these tracks the 28 page, full color booklet features paintings by Mike Clift, Siggi, and friend Jim Woodward, loads of photos, plenty of reading material and a glimpse at the Darkstar 2 cover created by H.R. Giger. Must add that while I find this soundtrack music fascinating, it sounds little like anything Psychotic Waltz did in the past.
The second half features a studio cover of Black Sabbath's "Disturbing the Priest," 3 songs from the infamous 1991 Dynamo gig in Holland that launched their European career, and a few more live cover tunes including another version of Black Sabbath's "Disturbing the Priest," Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh," and Ozzy's "Diary of a Madman." These three tracks are a pretty good description of Psychotic Waltz' music, as their music is an excellent mix of all these bands with a little Metallica and Jethro Tull thrown in to boot. The studio version of "Disturbing the Priest" is very nicely done, although no one can quite pull off Ian Gillan quite like Ian himself. Still, Buddy Lackey does a admirable job. The live tracks are decent but there is a bit of feedback in the "Nothing" that can be a bit annoying. The overall sound quality however, is not bad, although certainly not anywhere near the quality of the studio material. The Ozzy cover is humerous as the band sounds like they are playing in a club in front of about 10 people who are all drunk. What would a concert be without some drunk moron screaming "Ozzy! Ozzy!" in the background. The short interview at the end of the disc is the least interesting part of this disc to me. Interviews are one of those things that are cool to listen to once, but then usually never again. Thankfully it's placed at the end of the disc so that I can just turn the disc off after the last chords of "Diary of a Madman" are played. Overall, however, a nice disc for fans of the band who are craving more than just the four studio discs that this band released during their time together.