Having enjoyed Psychonaut’s 2021 Emerald – split with Sâver, I’ve been looking forward to seeing what the band could do with a longer release. So now we have it – Violate Consensus Reality contains 53 minutes of material for the listener to explore.
None of the songs on Violate Consensus Reality reach the 16-minute duration of their track on Emerald, although the final track here approaches it at 13 minutes. However, the rest of the songs range between 3-9 minutes, which surprised me considering my only exposure to the band before this was that single lengthy epic. So, what’s going on here?
Well, it seems we’re seeing Psychonaut reach their full potential.
Violate Consensus Reality combines a range of progressive, psychedelic, sludge, and post-metal influences, and does so rather well. If you think of it as a mix of bands such as Mastodon, The Ocean, Dvne, Neurosis, and Vokonis, you’ll be on roughly the right lines.
The songs are a tangle of different ideas, feelings, and moods, yet somehow never lose their accessibility or knack for a good hook. Resplendent melodies and energetic riffs are deployed frequently, while the breadth and delivery of the vocals – from harsh to clean – is as multifaceted as the rest of the music is.
The band’s songwriting is nuanced and dynamic. Psychonaut’s approach to music is one of layering and emotive connection, immersing the listener in soundscapes that are worth taking the time to explore. Whether slow and moody or fast and frenetic, (or much between this), they offer a considered, refined, and sophisticated form of heavy music for the listener to appreciate and enjoy. Of course, having said all that, Psychonaut are also more than capable of simply kicking out the jams with visceral skill when they need to.
Violate Consensus Reality has impressed. It offers a broader example of the band’s capabilities and musical depths than a one-track split could, (despite that track’s own range), and as such reveals Psychonaut in all of their rich, multifaceted glory.
If you’re a fan of quality, well-thought-out heavy music, then you must check out Violate Consensus Reality.
Very highly recommended.