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Psychotic Waltz is a progressive metal band formed in El Cajon, California in 1988.


The first incarnation of the band was under the name Aslan, after a character in the novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. With money earned from local shows and T-shirt sales, they recorded a self-titled demo tape in 1986. After discovering another band with the same name, they changed theirs to Psychotic Waltz and recorded a new four-song demo in 1988. In 1990, they debuted with their independently financed debut A Social Grace, which was released in Europe via a licensing deal with the German label Rising Sun Productions. The album was very well received in Europe, being named album of the month in some European magazines. The situation in US was more difficult, as the album was released under the band's own Sub Sonic Records label. With practically no
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PSYCHOTIC WALTZ albums / top albums

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ A Social Grace album cover 3.96 | 36 ratings
A Social Grace
Progressive Metal 1990
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Into The Everflow album cover 3.96 | 31 ratings
Into The Everflow
Progressive Metal 1992
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Mosquito album cover 3.48 | 14 ratings
Progressive Metal 1994
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Bleeding album cover 3.89 | 15 ratings
Progressive Metal 1996
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ The God-Shaped Void album cover 3.87 | 7 ratings
The God-Shaped Void
Progressive Metal 2020



PSYCHOTIC WALTZ demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Psychotic Waltz album cover 2.79 | 3 ratings
Psychotic Waltz
Progressive Metal 1988

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ re-issues & compilations

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Live And Archives album cover 2.94 | 4 ratings
Live And Archives
Progressive Metal 1998
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Dark Millenium album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Dark Millenium
Progressive Metal 1999
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ A Social Grace / Mosquito album cover 4.39 | 5 ratings
A Social Grace / Mosquito
Progressive Metal 2004
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Bleeding / Into The Everflow album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Bleeding / Into The Everflow
Progressive Metal 2004
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ The Architects Arise: The First Ten Years album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Architects Arise: The First Ten Years
Progressive Metal 2011


.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
I Remember / Only In A Dream
Progressive Metal 1990

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)



Album · 2020 · Progressive Metal
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"The God-Shaped Void" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, San Diego based progressive metal act Psychotic Waltz. The album was released through InsideOut Music in February 2020. Psychotic Waltz folded after touring in support of "Bleeding" from 1996, as a consequence of a law suit from an actress who appearing in the promotional video for the track "Faded" who said she was exposed to a light during the shooting of the video which caused partial blindness. Psychotic Waltz reunited in 2010 to play some shows, and slowly the idea to record a new album began. Rumours of the writing and recording of the album have circulated for years, but now "The God-Shaped Void" is finally here.

Psychotic Waltz were never a major player on the progressive metal scene and didn´t accomplish much commercial succes in their early- mid 90s heyday, but they had a strong underground following (especially in Europe), which were quite dedicated fans (including myself). Psychotic Waltz stuck out because of their psychadelic tinged take on the progressive metal genre and their relatively original music style, which initially was rooted in US power metal and traditional heavy metal acts like Fates Warning, Queensrÿche, and Iron Maiden, but also incorporated the more complex structures and technical playing of artists like Watchtower and Realm. Their love for 70s progressive rock and hard rock/heavy metal was also audible on the albums from their original run.

"The God-Shaped Void" is the sound of Psychotic Waltz, but in a sligthly more mature and formulaic version. Heavy riffs, mid-paced tempos and grooves, harmony leads and blistering solos, and Devon Graves (yeah that´s the one who used to be called Buddy Lackey) distinct sounding voice on top. Atmospheric keyboards are also a big part of the soundscape (and the flute is used on "Pull the String" and "Demystified"). In other words it´s a natural progression from the sound on "Bleeding (1996)", but featuring a darker and heavier production job, closer to the sound found on "Mosquito (1994)". Using the word formulaic above pertains to the song structures more than the compositional details, as most tracks on "The God-Shaped Void" are built over the tried and true vers/chorus skeleton. Again this is no surprise given the direction the band were heading in before their untimely break-up. So don´t expect this to sound much like the first two albums by Psychotic Waltz.

While all tracks are well written, and don´t take more than a few spins to be able to hum along to, I miss the anarchistic songwriting of the first two albums, and the high pitched ornamented vocal melodies, that characterized those two albums (listen to the incredibly dull vers melody on "Pull the String" and then think back on some of the technically crazy vocal melodies on the old albums. There´s really no competition is there?), but then again I missed those elements on "Mosquito (1994)" and "Bleeding (1996)" too, so I´m probably just one of those annoying old-school fans, who thinks everything was better in the old days...

...well I also miss changes in pace and being surprised by something on "The God-Shaped Void". Don´t get me wrong, this is a quality release on almost every measurable parameter (professional sound production, high level musical performances, solid songwriting: check, check, check) and sometimes the heavy riffs and the epic atmospheres ignite excitement in me (take a listen to the intro or the middle section to "While The Spiders Spin" for some truly epic moments, or listen to the closing track "In the Silence"), but overall it´s all a little too safe and predictable. I´m a little conflicted here, but a 3.5 (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.


Album · 2020 · Progressive Metal
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While the Brits may have created both progressive rock and heavy metal with King Crimson and Black Sabbath taking rock into two distinct yet completely different directions an amazing 50 years ago, it was the USA where the idea to link these two styles together really took off with bands like Watchtower and Fates Warning taking the complex compositional approaches of KC and dressing them up in the energetic and distorted dressing of the heavier aspects of metal music. Amongst the first wave of the progressive metal scene that rocked the 80s USA in the underground circuit was San Diego’s Aslan turned PSYCHOTIC WALTZ which began in 1986 and took the nerdy side of metal off guard with its lauded debut “A Social Grace.”

While the US spawned the first examples of prog metal, it was unfortunately not these bands’ homeland where they found interest in their innovative styles so bands like PSYCHOTIC WALTZ were virtually ignored at home while making the most waves in the part of the world where both prog and metal began in the first place. Yup, you guessed it, Europe! The band made a name for itself touring overseas which cemented their position as one of the most innovative prog metal bands of the era and went on to release four albums: “A Social Grace” (1990), “Into The Everflow” (1992), “Mosquito” (1994), “Bleeding” (1996). While productive and passionately engaged, the band called it quits after lackluster sales and the final straw came when the band was sued by an actress who claimed her appearance in the making of the video for “Faded” caused her to suffer partial blindness due to the lighting involved.

With the ever growing interest in more progressive music however, PSYCHOTIC WALTZ have gone down as prog gods with their forward thinking albums that sounded like no other. While not exactly reaping the fruits of their hard work during the initial run, this bands’ albums have become quite popular ever since and eventually reunited in 2010 with its original lineup of Dan Rock (guitars/keyboards), Brian McAlpin (guitars/keyboards), Ward Evans (bass), Norm Leggio (drums), and Devon Graves (vocals/flute/keyboard), originally known to fans as Buddy Lackey. With no new album the band started to tour opening for Nevermore and Symphony X on The Power Of Metal tour. While a new album was planned, nobody expected these guys to take 10 whole years to make it happen but finally on 14 February 2020 here it is!

Sounding as if they were picking up where “Bleeding” left off, PSYCHOTIC WALTZ returns with THE GOD-SHAPED VOID which took seven years to create and actually a miracle that it got created in the first place considering that Buddy Lackey currently lives in Austria and the rest of the band have full-time jobs and families to contend with. Not counting the archival odds and sods 1999 release “Dark Millennium,” THE GOD-SHAPED VOID is the fifth installment in the band’s canon. Needless to say, this cast of five who are well in their 50s now are not the same band that they were 30 years ago when the debut album was released, however the band jettisoned the Watchtower inspired technical thrash metal riffs before they even broke up for the first time. What GOD-SHAPED VOID delivers is a much darker atmospheric slice of psychedelia tinged progressive metal without the emphasis on rampaging tech wankery.

We were treated to a sampling with the first official video “Devils And Angels” which pretty much was a preview for the entire album’s worth of material presented. In this way, GOD-SHAPED VOID has the most in common with the band’s last 90s album “Bleeding” so in that regard this one literally picks up where that one left off and although it’s a much less aggressive album than their 90s run, still sounds like the next logical step that could’ve easily been inserted into the turn of the millennium timeline so i would guess that much of the material has been gestating in the heads of the musicians even if they hadn’t received the recording process until much later.

While THE GOD-SHAPED VOID will not dazzle you with the flashiness of “A Social Grace” or “Into The Everflow,” neither has it gone Leprous on us and abandoned metal altogether. While the tech riffs have been tamed into heavier power chord rampages that are more akin to alternative metal, for the most part this band is still on top of its game only with the focus on the sound textures, atmospheric ambience and lyrical deliveries where Devon Graves hasn’t lost any of his vocal fluidity or powerful range. Likewise both guitarists Dan Rock and Brian McAlpin deliver some excellent guitar work on tracks like “Back To Black” which cranks out power stomps as well as soloing. While the chaotic dissonance of the past has been traded in for a more accessible melancholic style that is less frenetic and simmering on progressive light, the tracks are amazingly consistent as the melodies are solid, the hooks are instantly piercing and the production both captures the intricate sounds of the band’s heyday but offers a crisp clean modern dimension that allows the nuanced atmospheric components to shine.

It’s always a gamble to revive a classic band after so many years have gone by but it’s obvious on THE GOD-SHAPED VOID that PSYCHOTIC WALTZ still carries the torch that keeps the passion for their music alive and although the band has matured a bit, this one carries a lot more emotional delivery than the more technically infused early albums. With so many newer metal bands sounding lost in the sea of generic wannabeism or spiraling out into experimental inaccessibilities, it’s exciting to find a classic band like PSYCHOTIC WALTZ time traveling into the present to show the whippersnappers how old school metal can be so exciting when done right and everything comes together quite spectacularly on this beautiful comeback album. What makes this album work so well is that PSYCHOTIC WALTZ never did the same album twice and i for one am happy that they didn’t just retread their past glories and evolve the music into the new world while adapting it from the last album they left behind. If you loved the early albums, Crimson Glory, early Queensryche or other prog metal bands that focused on the melodic side of thing above all else then THE GOD-SHAPED VOID will not disappoint one bit!


Album · 1996 · Progressive Metal
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"Bleeding" is the 4th and last album in the original run of US, San Diego based progressive metal act Psychotic Waltz. The album was released through Bullet Proof Records in July 1996. It´s the successor to "Mosquito" from 1994 and features one lineup change as original bassist Ward Evans left Psychotic Waltz shortly after the completion of "Mosquito (1994)" and has been replaced here by Phil Cuttino. Although "Bleeding" was a successful release for the band (...underground successful), it was unfortunately the beginning of the end for the band. During the shooting of the promotional video for the track "Faded", an actress who appeared in the video said she was exposed to a light which caused partial blindness, and she subsequently sued the band. During the lengthy legal battle which ensued the band folded. The legal battle was probably the trigger for the split-up of the band, but creative differences had also begun to appear.

But that´s getting ahead of history, as things were still good around the time of writing and recording "Bleeding". Stylistically "Bleeding" continues the more regular vers/chorus formula songwriting approach of "Mosquito (1994)", but it´s ultimately still a very different sounding release to its direct predecessor. While "Mosquito (1994)" was dark and heavy, "Bleeding" is more melodic and bright release (although still mostly featuring a melancholic atmosphere), loaded with memorable soaring vocal melodies. Keyboards were used on all three predecessors to varying degrees, but here they are more dominantly present in the soundscape. Not as a lead instrument, but as an atmosphere enhancer. There´s still an occasional psychadelic touch to the band´s music, but to my ears that element is not as strong as it has previously been, although a track like "Northern Lights", featuring lyrics about smoking weed in Amsterdam and walking around town, of course still point in that direction (as does many of the lyrics on the album).

Scott Burns who produced "Mosquito (1994)" was tapped to engineer "Bleeding", but guitarist Dan Rock is credited for mixing and producing the album (with Woody Barber). As a result the sound production is what I´d characterize as a bit up and down in quality. The drums don´t feature the most pleasent sound and the guitars are sometimes a bit too high in the mix (and the flute solo on "My Grave" is placed too low in the mix)), but overall the album still sounds relatively good.

The material on "Bleeding" are generally well written and catchy, but to my ears the album is frontloaded with the best tracks, while the latter part of the album features most of the less remarkable songs. Highlights are "Faded", "Locust", "Morbid", the title track, and "Northern Lights", the first four of which happen to open the album. The acoustic based power ballad "My Grave", which includes flute playing courtesy of lead vocalist Buddy Lackey, should also be mentioned among the standout tracks on the album, although it´s a bit of a rehash of the ideas used on "I Remember" from "A Social Grace (1990)". Psychotic Waltz are as well playing as ever and Lackey´s voice and vocal style provide the band with a touch of originality. "Bleeding" is not a flawless album and it´s not the band´s strongest album either, but it´s still an original sounding high quality progressive metal album and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.


Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal
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"Mosquito" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, San Diego based progressive metal act Psychotic Waltz. The album was released through Bullet Proof Records in July 1994. It´s the successor to "Into The Everflow" from 1992. "Mosquito" does not feature any lineup changes since the precessor, but bassist Ward Evans would leave Psychotic Waltz shortly after the completion of the album. The band picked Scott Burns to produce "Mosquito", which was considered an odd choice at the time, as Burns was mostly known for his work with death- and thrash metal acts like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Obituary, Sepultura, and Demolition Hammer...

...and "Mosquito" indeed features a very different sounding production compared to the sound productions on the two predecessors. "Mosquito" features a bottom heavy dark sound, but it´s a sound which suits the new direction of the material well. Because if the different sounding production job was a big change for some fans, the songwriting on "Mosquito" could also prove to be a bit of a challenge.

Both "A Social Grace (1990)" and "Into The Everflow (1992)" featured nonlinear and structurally challenging compositions, although both were also melodic and catchy. "Mosquito" is a very different beast, as most tracks on the album follow a relatively normal vers/chorus formula, and the progressive structures and techncial playing of the two predecessors have been considerably toned down. Some tracks like the album opening title track (nice toying around with time signatures on this one), "Cold", and especially the off-beat rhythm 10 minutes long (don´t get fooled by the length though as there are a couple of minutes of silence before a short hidden track ends the track) closing track "Mindsong", still feature sections which are quite progressive in nature, while tracks like "Dancing In The Ashes" and "Locked Down" are basically pretty regular vers/chorus based heavy metal tracks, with very little in common with what most people would perceive as progressive metal. The band´s trademark lead guitar harmonies have also been decreased. They are still there, but typically used more sparsely and for atmosphere enhancement.

Psychotic Waltz are still an exceptionally well playing band and although their musical direction and overall sound have changed quite a bit on "Mosquito", the music on the album is still unmistakably the sound of Psychotic Waltz. The psychadelic edge, the technical finésse, and Buddy Lackey´s distinct sounding, strong and paatos filled vocals, give that away immediately. Psychotic Waltz were on a ever changing musical journey in their original run, and all four albums from that era are very different sounding. The first two are the most progressive and original, but "Mosquito" is still a strong and original sounding progressive metal album and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.


Album · 1990 · Progressive Metal
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After a brief period under the moniker Aslan which the band had to jettison because the name was already taken PSYCHOTIC WALTZ released their first demo in 1988 and then took a couple years to craft their full length debut release A SOCIAL GRACE. They released the album independently by coughing up their own dough and started their very own Sub Sonic Records. In Europe they scored a licensing deal with Rising Sun Productions and despite not finding an instant connection with a larger audience still managed to receive heaps of praise from the magazine reviews of the day. Metal Hammer and Rock Hard praised A SOCIAL GRACE as one of the best albums in a long time for its bold originality of combining Watchtower type technical precision and ferocity with U.S. power metal influences bringing early Queensrÿche to mind in the melodic vocal deliveries, Iron Maiden gallops and dynamics in their playing style and all coated in progressive thrash touches and one of the biggest surprises, the abnormal for metal Ian Anderson tribute in Buddy Lackey’s singing style and occasional addition of flute. As a result of all these styles melded together, A SOCIAL GRACE is one of the most unique sounding progressive metal albums ever to emerge from ANY era much less the year 1990 when it was released. PSYCHOTIC WALTZ nailed it and delivered all the goods on this debut unlike other traditional metal acts treading down similar paths of increasing progressive and inventive elements. First and foremost all the musicians on board here were masters of their retrospective instruments complementing the greater band sound in perfect unison.

The album begins with the fast and furious duo thrash guitar assault of Brian McAlpin and Dan Rock delivering some of the most intense metal riffs that were rooted in keeping the overall sound melodic but they were also masters of syncopated effects that offered technical tricks and trinkets without steering the band’s sound into abstract Watchtower territory. Through these superbly constructed tracks all performers shine in every arena. Buddy Lackey was indubitably in the same league with Queensrÿche’s Geoff Tate and Crimson Glory’s Midnight. His vocal range is actually more impressive IMHO as he not only wails in the upper registers but has serious control that can tackle several styles in sequence.

Jeff Lords’ virtuosic bass playing skills are noteworthy especially noticeable as the driving force behind the instantly addictive frenzy of “Spiral Tower” which provides a super strong backbone that allows the band to spiral off in various directions around him like a tornado filled with razor blades and nails. Dana Burnell is yet another master of his craft providing some of the most impressive drum abuse skills of the era not only keeping up with the relentless assault of changing rhythms and song structure meanderings but provides creative fills and brilliant orgies of percussion where the snares, toms and cymbals collude to add yet another intoxicating layer of the musical style on board. While the main focus of A SOCIAL GRACE is heavy rockin’ metal segments that infuse an instantly melodic hooked that is laced with progressive touches to steer the listener into WTF territory, there are a few surprises that seem like they dropped in from another universe.

The first surprise is the “ballad” of the album “I Remember.” This is a melodic little number that takes too many liberties channeling Ian Anderson from 1969. While it’s obvious from the very first track that Buddy Lackey’s vocal phrasings are right out of the Jethro Tull playbook, they somehow work well as he adapts them to the heavy metal styles on board. This track is where he leaves the realms of “influence” and enters the unfortunate situation of plagiarism. I dare anyone to listen to this song back to back with “We Used To Know” from Jethro Tull’s 1969 album “Stand Up” and tell me this isn’t the exact same song at least in the main melodic development of the vocals. This little faux pas is the one blemish for me on an otherwise perfect album. It’s not that it’s not performed impeccably, because the song is quite a beautiful interpretation and if credit was given as a JT song then i’d be cool but unfortunately Lackey claims it as his own. Luckily the Tull interplay remains within the realms of “influence” throughout the rest of the album where it works quite well. Another strange anomaly is the following “Sleeping Dogs” which is a strange electronic swirling of synthesized sounds. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be an outro or an intro or just a strange little head scratcher but also reminds me how future bands like Unexpect would incorporate these kinds of things into their sound.

Overall this is an excellent progressive metal album that flows perfectly from beginning to end, crosses all the t’s and dots all the i’s for a totally satisfying experience. The metal aspects take the best of what the 80s had to offer by mixing melodies with technical prowess while delivering thoughtful lyrics, excellent band interactions and total control of tempo changes, time signature developments and even dynamics pacing. If it weren’t for “I Remember” which is too much of a Jethro Tull ripoff despite sounding really well done, i would give this 5 stars, but because this is a prominent peccadillo in my world i can’t award it with a perfect rating, however this is a highly recommended album release that will please any adventurous metal heads who like a lot of nice twists and turns in their music without sacrificing the melodic aspects that made 80s metal so pleasing in the first place.


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more than 2 years ago
A SOCIAL GRACE is a total masterpiece !
Psydye wrote:
more than 2 years ago
AWESOME fricking' band!! =D


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