"Psykerion" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Thought Chamber. The album was released through InsideOut Music in September 2013. There have been quite a few changes in the lineup since the debut and as a consequence the only remaining members of the lineup that recorded "Angular Perceptions (2007)" are band founder/guitarist Michael Harris and lead vocalist Ted Leonard (Enchant, Affector, Spock´s Beard).
While Michael Harris was the main composer on "Angular Perceptions (2007)" and remains to be on "Psykerion" the two albums are quite different in sound and style. You can still hear it´s the same band playing, but Thought Chamber have developed their sound significantly in the years between the two releases. While references to acts like Dream Theater, late eighties Fates Warning (tracks like "Psykerion: The Question" and "Recoil" feature the same dark atmosphere) and at times even early Psychotic Waltz (mostly because of Ted Leonard´s voice and singing style) are valid enough, Thought Chamber incorporate a lot of progressive rock elements on "Psykerion", which they didn´t do to this extent on the debut album, which was more of a "straight" progressive metal affair. As a result "Psykerion" is quite an eclectic release featuring a successful balance between progressive metal and progressive rock elements (tracks like "Light Year Time" and "Isle of Bizen" for example feature very few metal related elements). Probably because of the shared sci-fi lyrics and imagery I can´t help mention that "Psykerion" features quite a few similarities to "ReEvolution (2013)" by Cynthesis. Another great 2013 progressive metal release.
"Psykerion" features 16 tracks and a full playing time of 63:53 minutes. Some of the tracks are shorter instrumentals, interludes or intro/outros, but the song lengths are generally around the 3 - 5 minutes mark, with only two longer tracks out of the bunch and none of those two exceed the 10 minutes mark. The whole thing is packed in a powerful and well produced sound production. At times I feel the keyboards (leads) are slightly too high in the mix, but that´s a minor issue. The organ on the other hand are placed tastefully in the mix and provide the music with a nice organic warmth.
The musicianship are on a high level. In keeping with the eclectic nature of the music you´ll be exposed to both atmospheric playing and more challenging progressive parts with fast runs and tempo- and time signature changes in "classic" progressive metal style. Lead vocalist Ted Leonard delivers a very convincing performance, but if you are already familiar with some of his previous work, that´s really no surprise. He is a greatly skilled singer with a distinct sounding voice and a personal vocal style.
"Psykerion" reeks of class all the way through. The musicianship are strong, the sound production professional and well sounding and the songwriting is intriguing and adventurous. All in all a high quality product in every way possible. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.