Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Review: Encephalon – 'Psychogenesis'


Canada's Encephalon return with their third release and follow-up to 2011's full-length début 'The Transhuman condition' with 'Psychogenesis'. Blending ebm, industrial, goth and dark electro the trio embark on a cyberpunk exploration of the human condition and future technologies. Sci-fi synths, pounding beats, pulsing bass, and orchestral elements frame a much darker outing than the predecessor, but its one that is no less appealing.

The album proceeds almost like a concept album with the songs and lyrics creating a tangible narrative which runs throughout. It is intelligent, engrossing, but maintains an undeniable club appeal with tracks such as the incendiary anthem 'Illuminate', the hard glitch-laden 'Outbreaker', the frenetic 'Only Biological', the classic ebm of 'Ultimate Breed', and the epic strains of 'The Descent' pushing the album in an undeniably accessible direction.

However the album does get its claws deeper with tracks such as 'Psychogenesis Zero', 'Desertopolis', 'Genomica', 'Echophagy' and 'Atom And Eve' which maintain the catchy construction of the rest of the album, but at the same time demand a more considered listening than the others.

In terms of the production the album is very nicely produced and mixed. There are a lot of styles and subtle nods at play here which creates a rich but complex palette. Yet the album remains cohesive and every element at work on it is identifiable but feels right.

'Psychogenesis' is a strong, complex and intelligent album that blends genres effortlessly, maintains an easy to follow narrative, and is completely accessible to dance fans and casual listeners alike. Encephalon have taken their time and it has been well spent. It could be argued that it may be too dense in places for those who want an easy to get to grips with album, and not all of the tracks would be suitable for the club. But that's also the beauty of the album. It has a progressive slant that makes it stand out from the pack, and that is can only be a good thing.

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