Meg Lee Chin
The British techno metal act Pitchshifter has certainly
made an evolution since the days of the industrial-heavy Desensitized.
With each new album, they've progressed further towards a
more accessible techno metal infused with British punk elements.
With the previous album, Deviant, though, they strayed
a little too close to the mainstream, offering an album that
seemed to lose a little of their edge.
With PSI, though, things seem to be back on track.
As with previous efforts, this album is built around raw guitars
and bass tracks, looped and sampled beats, and J.S. Clayden's
nasally punk-influenced vocals. Samples and techno audio tricks
litter the tracks, adding audio flavor to the album as a whole.
PSI opens with the slow drum and bass opening of Stop
Talking (So Loud), a casual lull that's broken with flashes
of ruckus metal. This dynamic bounces back forth until the
song slowly fades out. This is followed by the catchy Eight
Days, which features a groovy riff that jumps for low-key
to powerful. The chorus is more radio friendly, but not so
much so that it weakens the song. My Kind follows with
a punch, driving the stuttering beats and riff in between
groove-heaving guitar lines.
Misdirection begins laid-back and moody and moves
into a raw set of guitar lines, eventually evolving into harmonized
vocals. The darker tone of this song is a nice break from
the more higher energy tracks that came before. Down
certainly feels like older tracks from the band, falling into
their style quite easily. The funk-influenced guitars of Shutdown
give it a nice personality without deviating too much from
the band's repertoire. The chorus has a nice groove.
Whatever rolls in with a standard Pitchshifter
feel, not unlike the last two albums. Screenshot is
raw in its delivery, jumping to drum and bass moments to break
up the mood when needed. We Know flirts about, offering little
staccato notes until it jumps full force into its groove.
Super-Clean begins with a deep, raw guitar track, patterned
along with the sampled beat that roars into life in the body
of the song. Slip is more of a mainstream track, even
with a bit of a subversive mood. Shen-An-Doah ends
the album with a unique mood, not too far divorced from the
rest of the album, but powerful enough to end the album well.
It's nice to see that Pitchshifter has taken a step
back away from mainstream with PSI. On the upside,
this album features some nice tracks, but the overall feel
is much like previous efforts. If that's fine with you, then
by all means, go forth and purchase.