Pitchshifter PSI
Grade
B+
 
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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.

- - Vane

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