Title:Slash & Burn
PSYCHOTHERMIA is the new CANOBLISS. Or rather, it’s the same band, but due to legal issues they had to drop the CANOBLISS monniker. Taking then the easiest road, the band chose as their new name the title of one of their releases: PSYCHOTHERMIA. This was also how I got to know about their music, back in 2008: see here. Two years later, another full-length came out, “Man Is The Enemy”. This was one of my favourite releases of that year. See my review here. Of course these guys have been working hard, gigging all over the place (by manner of speech) and it’s no doubt that under the new name the passion and drive still exists, if not more than before.
Two videos (“Crazy X” and “Anarchy“) have been shot for the first release, the EP “Slash & Burn”, which came out in July 2012. It contains six tracks and a total playtime of almost half an hour. The guys worked with Fred Archambault, known from his work with e.g. AVENGED SEVENFOLD, for the production of this EP. This lead to a power and clear sound.
The EP kicks off with “Anarchy”. Clean verses connect with a more powerful bridge and chorus. I like how the heavy music contrasts with John’s melodic vocals. Speaking of which, on this entire EP the singing is done with an emotional touch, which is logical, considering the song titles and lyrics. To put this title extra in the spotlight, there’s a short protest in the middle of the track before the guitar solo is let loose. In any case, a very good starting track. “Crazy X” is another highlight. This one has ambiguous (if that words fits here) verses, powerful at first, more psychedelic the next instant. It’s another heavy song, but with a melodic and catchy chorus. And obviously the guitar solo is present too. I also like how Mike (drums) added a bit of cowbell as extra spice.
“Slash & Burn” introduces the acoustic guitar, followed by drums and so growing in volume. Strings take a leading role, though don’t sound too happy about it. In other words, the melody isn’t happy-happy-joy-joy. The singing, too, is not like before, but softer. The music does become more Metal in the bridge, where John adds a touch of madness in his voice. This links up with a slow, emotional chorus, after which it’s back to acoustic instrumentation. Another good job on creating contrast in a song. After the solo, a powerful piece/bridge follows before the chorus is done again and so the band heads towards the end of the song. All in all, a good track, but to me not as attractive as the previous two. Still, kudos to John’s vocal input, from soft to powerful… the man can sing, indeed.
The second half of the tracklist is begun with “The Fight”. One would expect powerful, groovy Metal. And it is, though again with a load of melody. Again the vocals are a key element in the process: tough on one hand, vulnerable and clean on the other hand. The music follows suit. Or is it the other way around? You could somehow compare this track to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Best part here for me was the groovy stuff in the middle, that breaks the song in two.
“All The Diamonds” also takes a direct start, here with a heavily grooving guitar. The verses are midtempo and Proggy, so to speak, with John’s typical clean vocals. Everything grows in power towards the chorus, which, like before, is rather slow and melodic. The focus also lies on feel and atmosphere. There is more room here for solos, as one does come in early on, another one later. Still, don’t expect any happy flower power Metal, the song is still dark. Last but certainly not least there is “Danger Sign”. No guitar input here, it’s the bass and drums that begin the track with a nice groove. And these two elements are key for the entirety of the song. The verses are a little slow, sound a little pyscho (by lack of a better word). More musical power lies in the bridge and all comes out, of course, in the chorus. After the obligatory solo, a powerful, groovy piece forms the bridge towards a calmer and sad, but Jazzy piece. Nice changes here, in other words. The song ends like it started.
Long story short: I was a little worried when I read about the name change, from CANOBLISS to PSYCHOTHERMIA. Usually with a name change comes a style change. But not here, the guys continue to provide qualitative groovy Metal that retains its catchy touch. This first EP under the new name offers six very qualitative tracks that are everything you expect from these guys, even if would be released under the old name. Get your copy via the band’s website. And why are these guys still unsigned? Either way, bring on that full-length (more info here). Then come play some gigs in Europe (especially in Belgium, of course).
- Crazy X
- Slash & Burn
- The Fight
- All The Diamonds
- Danger Sign
John Maldonado – vocals
Jon Russo – guitars
Chenzo Vidalez – bass
Mike Russo – drums