“Fractured Eye” is the fourth album from US prog act Slychosis, a band I first came across with their 2010 album “Mental Hygiene”. Taking a trick or two from Rush’s synth-heavy 80′s era, Slychosis’ sound is certainly rooted in progressive canon, but it’s often focused on melody. These formalities now aside, I cannot say I had been too impressed with “Mental Hygiene”, remembering it as a poorly-produced album that only realized their potential partways. My first impression regarding “Fractured Eye” is that things have improved on virtually every front for Slychosis this time around. They have yet to find a distinct voice for themselves, but this fourth album has made it clear that this band is capable of much more than I first thought.
While I would never call Slychosis ‘poor’, “Mental Hygiene” did leave me wanting in a few places, and left no impression under than the thought that they were in need of a stronger identity. “Fractured Eye” still contends with this, but the execution has been largely polished up. Keeping in mind the comparison to 80′s era Rush, Slychosis are fairly typical of US neo- prog, relying on keyboards more often than not. “The Sphinxter” devotes its first few minutes to a quirky symphonic overture that at frst conjures impressions of The Residents, although this strange charm is trade off for a more conventional take on songwriting throughout most of the album. “Elegy for Christy” is another song that stnads out, an instrumental with some beautiful lead work Although quite mellow, Slychosis conjure some powerful emotional energy here.
The majority of the album unfortunately focuses in on the melodic songwriting they explored on “Mental Hygiene”, albeit with a more polished sense of production and performance. For a band that makes melody such a hot spot in their style, Slychosis’ melodies are rarely memorable. They are pleasant to hear, but they never seek or challenge the listener. The vocals on “Mental Hygiene” never stirred me too much, and I feel the same is true for “Fractured Eye”; although Tony White and co. are decent singers, it sounds like they attempt to emulate the styles of certain prog greats, particularly Rush vocalist Geddy Lee.
The last three songs on the album are actually re-recorded tracks from the band’s first album, presumably done as a result of Slychosis’ much improved execution and sound. The mini-epic “Samuel” is one of the album’s best cuts, despite technically not being fresh material. Complete with an interesting sci-fi concept and lethargic dialogue that dead-rings out for the narration on Rush’s “The Necromancer”, the ambition is tuned up here, and hearing some of the band’s older compositions, it makes me wonder why they decided to focus in on a more conventional approach to songwriting. The execution is where Slychosis have really started to tighten up their act on “Fractured Eye”. While Slychosis do not yet leap out beyond their like-sounding contemporaries, there has been a noted improvement in the time between the albums. Even so, they will need to find a stronger individual voice before I can recommend them wholeheartedly.
1. The Sphinxter
3. The Mariner
4. Elegy for Christy
5. The Memory
6. Dreamscapes 2012
7. Samuel 2012
8. Glass 1/2 Full 2012
* Gregg Johns – guitars, keyboards, bass, vocals
* Tony White – vocals, guitars
* Shannon Goree – drums, percussion, vocals
* Bones Joshua Theriot – guitars