Friday, May 16, 2008

Schizopathic - Grain of Sanity (Self-financed)

First of all, for those who don’t know, I’m a bit too close to this album to be truly objective. I am good friends with these guys not to mention that I was present for some of the recording; even managing to use some of their Pachyderm studio time for my own nefarious purposes. That said, let the review begin.

“All Rise” kicks off the album and sets the mood; and it’s a mood that demands headbanging and fists-in-the-air throughout. Only softening their attack in the arpeggiated ‘acoustic’ sections of the heavy titletrack “Grain of Sanity” as well as in “Sessions,” a song which could be considered a ballad if only it wasn’t so pissed-off angry. In fact, anger seems to be the predominant theme here as best exemplified by “Beat You to Death.” As I’m sure you can imagine, the song is both angry and heavy.

Overall, most of this fumming riff ‘n’ roll portfolio dwells in the mid-tempo range. However, “Psycho Trip” steps up the speed a bit complete with a really cool skate/surf vibe. Definitely one of my favorite tracks. Though the crowd favorite by far is “Schizoholic;” certainly destined to become a classic party song and will probably remain the defining song of the band much the same way “Ace of Spades” defines Motorhead. “Me, Myself and I” is another popular live track, strangely appealing in it’s straitforward self-centered advance.

To characterize Shizopathic's sound a bit more: Think Pantera mixed with Suicidal Tendencies and latter day Anthrax. Heavy, catchy, and riffy with gang chant back up vox. Charismatic backup vocals provided care of Cole (drums) and Scott (guitar).

As far as the production goes, it is not quite what you’ll get with the major label bands I’ve just mentioned; however, it is much better than what you would normally expect from a self-financed release. Meaning Grain of Sanity doesn’t get tiresome after repeated listens despite EQ abuse (in my opinion) and that says a lot. If you have the opportunity to see Schizopathic live, expect to hear quite a few songs not currently available.

A final word. Wes House, a musician friend of ours who recently died from Progressive Multiple Sclerosis really dug this album giving it a thumbs up (the MS took away his ability to speak) when I asked him what he thought of it not long before he died.

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