Psychonaut - Unfold The God Man review




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Reviewer:
9.0

140 users:
8.26
Band: Psychonaut
Album: Unfold The God Man
Release date: March 2020


01. All I Saw As A Huge Monkey
02. The Story Of Your Enslavement
03. Kabuddah
04. The Fall Of Consciousness
05. Sananda
06. Celestial Dictator
07. Halls Of Amenti
08. Nexus
09. Nothing Is Consciousless


A progressive post-metal album released on Pelagic Records? If your mind instantly goes to The Ocean, you wouldn't be too wide of the mark, but Belgium's Psychonaut are far more than a mere imitation of the aforementioned German collective.

It appears that Unfold The God Man, the first full-length record from Psychonaut following a couple of EPs, was first released in 2018, as traces of its earlier existence can be found through a Google search. However, after Pelagic Records took on the band, it has now been repackaged and, according to the revised records, is "officially" a 2020 release. Although these circumstances are needlessly confusing, it's clear from listening to the record why a label such as Pelagic Records might opt to get this album onto their roster; given the close ties of that label to The Ocean, an ambitious, expansive album rooted in prog, sludge and post-metal is right up their alley. It's also very much right up my own alley.

The opener "All I Saw As A Huge Monkey" opens with some throat singing, which reappears later on tracks such as "Celestial Dictator" and the semi-interlude "Nexus"; outside of this throat singing, however, this first track is instrumental, and whilst it's a lively and well-paced one with some exciting lead guitar work, it's a bit overly long and probably the least interesting track here. Once this teaser is done with, Unfold The God Man delivers quality song after quality song, ranging from shorter, punchier efforts to more expansive ventures, and from melancholic, emotive softer tracks to crunchy sludgy riffs. These different approaches are held together by the excellent vocals, which alternate between the traditional post-metal screams and clean singing, with some effective harmonies utilized throughout. "The Story Of Your Enslavement" is the shortest cut here, but still manages to fit in many of these elements, with some gnarly riffs, Mastodon-esque lead guitar licks (a semi-regular feature throughout the record), atmospheric cleans and a grandstand finish, all packaged into less than 5 minutes.

As mentioned before, there are influences from The Ocean present in Psychonaut's sound; I felt them most keenly in the soft/heavy opening minutes of "The Fall Of Consciousness", as well as the crushing riff that follows the ambient percussive introduction of "Celestial Dictator". Mastodon, Tool and more have also been used as common reference points in reviews; however, although I can pick up bits of each of those bands in parts of Unfold The God Man, they never feel obvious; this record is very much its own beast, and beastly it can get at times. "Kabuddah", which has some stoner rock-inspired vocal harmonies during its middle minutes (which also serve as an apt demonstration of the quality production job here, with the bass coming through nicely in the mix), closes with some crushing slow sludge riffing that pummels the listener into submission. "Celestial Dictator" is also a visceral listening experience when the walls of guitars finally emerge mid-way through, bringing a pulsating intensity reminiscent of parts of Pelagial.

At the same time, as compelling as the heavier parts can be, the album arguably shines brightest in its more introspective, expansive or emotionally evocative stretches. The atmospheric post-metal build-up through the first half of "The Fall Of Consciousness" sets a strong base for the song to progress into one of the finest on the record, with a extended jammy solo section that is possibly the most Tool-inspired period on Unfold The God Man. That song still has its fair share of aggressive stretches; conversely, the next song on the album, "Sananda", is a clean, melancholic, expansive prog epic, with something of a Pink Floyd vibe to its ambient synths and spacious lead guitar, and a touch of Persefone in the vocal melodies. "Halls Of Amenti" delivers some stirring vocal harmonies in its gripping closing minutes, and the lengthy finale "Nothing Is Consciousless" channels Crack The Skye as it traverses a wide expanse during its extensive runtime, moving between post-metal and stoner metal to stay consistently compelling throughout. I'm not 100% sold on the saxophone that pops up at the end of this song, but it otherwise serves as an excellent conclusion to an outstanding record.

At around 70 minutes, it's a hefty listen. However, unlike some of the (seemingly numerous) other groups that have dropped colossal LPs in 2020 (looking at you, Huntsmen in particular), this fully justifies its runtime due to its variety and consistently excellent songwriting. Amongst the multitude of quality albums from 2020 I've heard so far, Unfold The God Man has set an early benchmark in the AOTY race (even if it may not technically be a 2020 release).


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 04.04.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 190 users
04.04.2020 - 19:36
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Damn, I guess now I gotta listen to this
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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04.04.2020 - 20:15
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 04.04.2020 at 19:36

Damn, I guess now I gotta listen to this


Let me know what you think if you do
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05.04.2020 - 12:02
Enemy of Reality
Listening to it right now. Good stuff.
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05.04.2020 - 15:33
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 04.04.2020 at 20:15

Written by RaduP on 04.04.2020 at 19:36

Damn, I guess now I gotta listen to this


Let me know what you think if you do

About halfway through it, so far it feels like it definitely justifies its length more than Huntsmen. Songwriting is top notch.
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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05.04.2020 - 17:34
nikarg
Mod
I have managed to listen to it twice already, and I think "The Fall Of Consciousness" really stands out.
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05.04.2020 - 17:49
musclassia
Written by nikarg on 05.04.2020 at 17:34

I have managed to listen to it twice already, and I think "The Fall Of Consciousness" really stands out.


Yeah that one's a standout for me, but also Sananda, Halls Of Amenti and Nothing Is Consciousless have done a lot for me too
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05.04.2020 - 17:54
metalwolf
The ideal sountrack for a lockdown.
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Cthulhu for President! Why settle for the lesser evil?
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09.04.2020 - 23:45
TheBigRossowski
Dudeist Priest'
Such a dope ass album!
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That rug really tied the room together, did it not?
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07.06.2020 - 09:21
tintinb
The guitar work is top notch.
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22.08.2020 - 04:06
DeliciousDishes
doesn't use salt
It doesn't really blow me away, but it's really good. As many pointed out, "The Fall of Consciousness" is amazing in particular.
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You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
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22.08.2020 - 12:18
musclassia
Written by DeliciousDishes on 22.08.2020 at 04:06

It doesn't really blow me away, but it's really good. As many pointed out, "The Fall of Consciousness" is amazing in particular.


I can see that; I think it's extremely good (hence the score), but it's not yet become a landmark record that I'm consistently returning to. It'll be interesting to see how it stacks up next to The Ocean's record from this year, which I imagine will be the only thing that can challenge it for best post-metal record.
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