An album that too often settles into safe territory, but there are shining moments on “Mosquito”.
“Mosquito” is undoubtedly for this reviewer the worst of the 4 Psychotic Waltz albums, and they raised the bar so high with “Into The Everflow” that this is a major let down. There seems to be something missing here that is unmistakeable when one listens to the 4 albums back to back of this incredible legendary band.
It is not until I got to the third track that I even felt remotely interested. The sound is so different and less technical to the previous masterpiece. There are still some wonderful moments and I have to mention Haze One as one of the definitive highlights. A terrific lead break, aggressive riffs and powerhouse vocals drive it into your skull.
The quiet acoustic and flute on the following track Shattered Sky is a welcome change to all the intense metal. The gentle vocals are multi tracked as always and sound peaceful. The distorted riff locks in on the choruses, and there is a sense of tension and release as the flute chimes in over the verses. The melody line is quite beautiful in the ambient moments.
Cold has some inspired lead breaks but the vocals are sounding very similar and there is not enough variation. The multi tracked style is always present, and the riffs are overlayed and too dirty and I detest fade outs on metal songs.
Hopefully the next song will be as good as PW’s first albums. I listen with patience to All The Voices and I hear, a weird psychedelic carnival sound. Okay this is better, the vocals are estranged and have psych prog lyrics, “follow me into the day, won’t you open the eyes of your mind, follow me into the sun, all of my friends will be with me again.” The keyboard motif that make this sound unique is welcome. The whammy bar works overtime with lead flourishes, then it fades out before it has a chance to progress. Why? Where is the technical excellence and time sig wizardry of “Into The Everflow” or the debut?
The next track Dancing in the Ashes, has a fantastic fast and frantic riff driving it headlong. The vocals are more intense, and furious, the riffs are wonderful in the chorus and the lead break has some speedy little licks that are worth emulating. A highlight at last on the album, but it is only 2:31 in length! I don’t get it!
Next a slow crawling moaning track that grows on you eventually, Only Time, ironically with a simple time sig overall. I don’t mind this at all. The riff is rather Sabbath like and morbid. The twin lead break is sensational , perhaps the best from the twin lead virtuosos. Then it fades, I wish the guy on the fade out button was vaporised at this stage. It is a commercial device and not necessary for a band like this, effectively killing any chances of the band to break out into lengthy instrumentals or innovative time changes.
Next on the agenda is Locked Down and the riff is great, stopping dead while Lackey’s vocals rave on; “You better lock it down, well come on down, down , better lock it down, better lock it down, locked down, low to the ground, this town is burning down, so you better lock it down etc etc etc”. Anyway, the lead break is quite good though way too short. This is a repetitive song with too many vocals and not enough innovation but it doesn’t fade out at least.
Mind Song is the longest track at 6:08 so I was hoping for a myriad of time sig changes and complexity as with their last 2 albums. It begins with a Pink Floyd type feel, the melody sounds spaced out, the vocals are quite good. There is even a reggae style on guitars. The keyboards dominate for a while, then there is a very nice lead solo. The psychedelic sound is strong and it builds to a new time sig, hooray! The half time feel is really a song within a song but delightfully reminiscent of the usual Psychotic Waltz complexity. This is the problem. The band are capable of brilliance and too often settle into a safe straight metal sound. Nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want, but with Psychotic Waltz who are renowned for tech metal, most fans would be expecting the same technical excellence of the first 2 albums. The last song then is a real highlight, and even features a wah wah lead motif while a sustained lead solo rings over the top. The lead work is astounding and showcase the talents of Rock and McAlpin.
Well there you go. Still a good album but should have been better. Fans did not want an accessible album from the legends of tech metal. But we are stuck with it. The commercial approach did not do the music any favours and really if you compare this to the other 3 albums it is perhaps not worth considering for newbies to the band who may be turned off. It is not very progressive because the band does not utilise their talents in the same way as the first 2 albums. Still, this is a nice add on but definitely does not hold a candle to the other master class albums of the band.