Jul 2015 06

Encephalon - PsychogenesisEncephalon
Category: Industrial / Electro / Experimental
Album: Psychogenesis
Stars: 4
Blurb: Flowing like a sci-fi narrative of a bleak future in which our reliance on machinery threatens to overtake the human impulse; and yet, the human element wins out with organic song structures and aggressively emotive vocals.


When Encephalon released The Transhuman Condition in 2011, the Ottawa band became one of the hot up-and-coming acts in the realm of electro/EBM thanks to the band’s intoxicating mix of intricate yet danceable beats and enticing melodies on par with futurepop. Playing numerous festivals and sharing the stage with a multitude of the scene’s most prominent acts, it would ultimately take Encephalon three years to complete the follow-up album, but with one listen of Psychogenesis, the effort will prove to have been worth the wait. Where the previous album took an almost upbeat and positive outlook on humanity’s embrace of technology, Psychogenesis offers an alternate viewpoint that warns of the dangers of relying on that same technology to sustain us only to produce the opposite effect.

Perhaps contradictorily, Encephalon’s use of technology in the music is quite top-notch, full of first-rate production and cutting edge sound design, given added depth by organic songwriting and primarily Matt Gifford’s passionate vocal delivery. Even when drenched in electronic affectations, his voice never comes across as robotic or lacking in emotion or energy; such is the case in a track like “Malkuth” where his natural tonality shines to reveal just the slightest imperfections that only a human being can produce, augmented by layers of vocoder in the soaring chorus. The same can be said of “Starscorch” as its marching rhythm and scathing yet spacey electronics play well beneath Gifford’s harmonious vocals, and while tracks like “Illuminate” and “Ultimate Breed” have their sights set firmly on the dance floor, the strong delivery of overdriven electronics and darkly emotive vocals make for an enjoyable listen. Especially notable throughout Psychogenesis is the programming as not only are the beat structures finely crafted, but the synths are fashioned in such a way to mimic the effect of chugging guitars, giving songs like “Outbreaker” and “Only Biological” the feel of a hard rock song. On the other hand, tracks like the opening “Psychogenesis Zero,” “Ecophagy,” and particularly “Genomica” with its layers of haunting female vocals take on a more orchestral flair, building up steadily into bombastic climaxes that add to a cinematic feel that pervades throughout Psychogenesis.

Encephalon is clearly a band that puts in a great deal of effort and thought into every aspect of its music as Psychogenesis presents listeners with the kind of edgy yet polished production that is rather difficult even for seasoned veterans to attain. The album flows like a sci-fi narrative of a bleak future in which our reliance on machinery threatens to overtake the human impulse, with an almost symphonic layering of disparate elements – from the organic song structures to the purely mechanical construction – to create a work of electrified grandeur that almost demands to be seen as much as heard. Well done, Encephalon!
Track list:

  1. Psychogenesis Zero
  2. Desertropolis
  3. Illuminate
  4. Outbreaker
  5. Starscorch
  6. Genomica
  7. Only Biological
  8. Ultimate Breed
  9. Malkuth
  10. Ecophagy (Nephilim Pt. 1)
  11. The Descent (Nephilim Pt. 2)
  12. Atom and Eve

Encephalon Website http://www.encephalon.ca
Encephalon MySpace https://myspace.com/encephalon
Encephalon Facebook https://www.facebook.com/encephalon.ca
Encephalon Twitter https://twitter.com/ghostorm
Encephalon ReverbNation https://www.reverbnation.com/EncephalonEBM
Encephalon SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/encephalon
Encephalon Bandcamp https://encephalon.bandcamp.com
Dependent Records Website http://www.dependent.de
Dependent Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/dependentrecords
Dependent Records Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dependent.records
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Storming the Base CD (Standard Edition)
Storming the Base CD (Infinity Edition)
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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