Sep 2011 08

[am.psych] - Side Effects EP
Category: Industrial / Coldwave
Album: Side Effects EP
Stars: 3
Blurb: Midwest industrial carrying the Chicago torch for the future!


The EP kicks off in great fashion with a creepy sample and synth to start off the song “Necrophile” with clean vocals building the tension until the song slams into aggression with distorted vocals and guitars screaming at the world through the hate colored lenses on their Al Jorgensen sunglasses. Milwaukee’s own [am.psych] delivers five tracks of what can be called new coldwave taking hints from their predecessors like 16volt and KMFDM and making the sound a bit more their own with ample doses of melodies in their synth writing. The second song on the record, “The Crux” is the perfect example of the blend between the coldwave and the EBM styling of the band. Here we have the grinding guitars and guttural vocals but also the oscillating melodic synth underneath it all to give the listener some ear candy and not just punish he or she into the ground.

What stands out most to this reviewer overall is the production on this record. It’s extremely well done and all the elements of [am.psych] fit together flawlessly. Everything can be clearly heard. You have a good separation in the mix and things don’t get too muddy in the mix. At times, it’s very reminiscent of the mixing done by Rhys Fulber in Front Line Assembly – lots of layers and dense textures that can be easily picked out of the rest of the mix and not lost on the listeners’ ears.

As far as what drags this release down, in this listener’s opinion, it’s a little too much of a throwback to some of the bands that made this genre what it is today and a little less of their own voice. The vocals do tend to get a little monotonous after the first three tracks because of the lack of dynamics in their presentation and delivery. It’s also easy to pick out the influences in the vocals. While many artists wear their influences on their sleeves (and that shouldn’t be a total disqualifier for great music), here it gives the listener a kind of fatigue because he or she has heard this done before. Also, the remixes are a bit hit or miss. Again, this genre is known for its remixes and this writer believes that if you are going to have remixes done, they should really bring something new to the table. The standout remix out of the four is “The Crux (Sordid Future mix by Mark Verbos);” Verbos takes the track and turns it on its ear, making it a completely EBM track and bringing a whole different feel to the song, taking it from an aggressive coldwave song and turning it into a club friendly stomper, and it really should be in many DJs’ playlists.

While there are a few misses on this release overall, it’s fairly strong and a good gateway drug into the world of [am.psych].
Track list:

  1. Necrophile
  2. The Crux
  3. Never Be
  4. The Disease
  5. Reload
  6. Break Chains (The Crux Mix by Insekt)
  7. Never Be (Suck It Up Mix by Caustic)
  8. Reload (Ammo Depletion Mix by Cyanotic)
  9. The Crux (Sordid Future Mix by Mark Verbos)

[am.psych] MySpace
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WTII Records Website
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WTII Records ReverbNation
Purchase at…
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Gabe Wilkinson (Microwaved)

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