PSYCHOTIC WALTZ — Bleeding (review)

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ — Bleeding album cover Album · 1996 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"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.
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