Independent hard rock band Psycle is scheduled to release its new album Kill The Machine Friday. The band’s third studio recording — and debut album — the eight-song record is the band’s best work to date. It is a presentation that shows the band’s members – Seth Salois (vocals, guitar), Jay Spyne (drums, vocals), Mike Kaz (bass, vocals), and Joe Nicolazzo (guitar) – at the top of their game. Between the talent exhibited by each musician and the depth in the songs’ lyrical themes, the record is a strong debut for the band. Given the right support, it actually could be the band’s breakout record. That is proven in part through the album’s latest single ‘Last Chance for the Saints.’ It will be discussed shortly. The album’s second single, ‘Changing Tide’ is another way in which the album proves its strength. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Dying To Live’ does just as much as ‘Changing Tide’ and ‘Last Chance For The Saints’ to show this record’s strength. It is definitely not the last of the album’s most notable songs, either. ‘Vultures at Play,’ ‘White Flag’ and ‘The Outsider’ are all just as notable as the songs addressed here. When all of these songs are considered alongside the album’s other two songs not noted here, the album in whole proves itself to be one of this year’s top new independent albums and one of the year’s top new rock records.
Psycle’s debut album Killing The Machine is a positive “first impression” from the band. The term “first impression” is used because the band has already released two EPs – its self-titled record and the EP Surfaces – ahead of this album. Spanning a total of eight songs, the album proves itself so positive because of its musical and lyrical content. That is evidenced in part through the album’s latest single ‘Last Chance for the Saints.’ The album’s penultimate song, it presents a blues-based, straight-forward rock arrangement, complete with chant of ‘Hey, Hey’ in its opening bars. Throughout the course of the nearly four-minute rocker, the composition in whole lends itself to comparisons to works from Theory of a Deadman, Charm City Devils, and Daughtry to a lesser degree. Front man Seth Salois’ vocal delivery couples with his work on guitar and that of fellow guitarist Joe Nicolazzo to add a certain depth to the song. Drummer Jay Spyne’s solid time keeping, fills and cymbal crashes add even more impact to the song while bassist Mike Kaz’s low-end puts the finishing touch to the whole. What is interesting to note here is that the song’s fiery energy actually plays well into translating the emotion in the song’s extremely serious lyrical theme, that of the nation’s opioid epidemic.
The fact that the band took on the topic of the nation’s opioid epidemic is a statement in itself. Few, if any music acts in any genre can say they have taken on or are taking on the controversial topic. The way in which the matter is addressed here makes the song stand out even more. This isn’t just some sad, emotional piece lamenting those who have died as a result of the epidemic. Rather, it is a striking indictment of the epidemic that forcefully goes after those who have allowed it to continue. Salois confirmed this in a recent interview, stating of the song’s theme, “This song deals with the damage that has been caused by the opioid epidemic in our country and how others continue to make money off of this damage. Addiction is something that has touched so many of us in so many ways. This song hopefully takes a stance against the destruction of so many of those we love.” That statement is confirmed as Salois sings in the song’s lead verse, “This is the last chance for the saints/Keep making the pills and we’ll medicate/I’ll never refuse while I lie here/The beautiful taste your supply cheers.” He continues in the song’s second verse, adding to that statement, “Never forget your consumer’s name/It’s written in guilt under stone they lay/It spreads like fire with our hands cold/’Cause killing us young meets the same goal.” He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Now it’s fading faster/Leaving you to shake/A beautiful disaster /Chase it down the drain/And we run, down the line but were still here alive/And we run, down the line but we’re still here alive.” Again, this is a pretty damning indictment of the nation’s drug industry. This isn’t going necessarily after drug dealers, but rather legal drug dealers; the companies that make these medications to which people are becoming addicted. Together with the song’s fiery, powerful musical arrangement, the two elements together make the song in whole one of this album’s strongest entries if not its strongest entry overall. Again, it is at least one of the album’s most notable songs. The album’s second single, ‘Changing Tide’ is another of the record’s most notable works.
Right from its outset, the arrangement at the center of ‘Changing Tide’ lends itself to comparisons to works from Alter Bridge and its predecessor, Creed. That is meant in the most complimentary way. Even Salois’ vocal delivery stands out here along with the work of his band mates, lending itself to comparisons to that of Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy. All of this is important to note because it’s another way in which the record proves musically to be Psycle’s best work to date. It is another clean, polished work from the band. In comparison to the work featured on the band’s two previously released EPs, it shows how much the band has grown and evolved personally and collectively throughout the band’s life. Interestingly, that plays right into the song’s lyrical theme, too.
The song’s lyrical theme is meant to inspire listeners, according to a recently released collective statement from the band. The statement says of the song’s lyrical theme, “‘Changing Tide’ is about believing in your individuality, accepting the hand that you are dealt and persevering through whatever stands in your way,” This message is driven home in the song’s lead verse, in which Salois sings, “Hold The Line, and believe in your creation/Make the climb/Never needing their ovation/Face down the storm/That will eat you alive.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Kill the lies/As it fuels the same frustration/Live your life/As we breathe the elevation/Break down those walls that you keep to survive.” This is straight forward to say, meaning that it is just as accessible to audiences as the lyrical content featured in ‘Last Chance for the Saints.’ It means audiences will be able to easily relate to this matter. The song’s chorus drives home the noted theme as Saolis sings, “I’ll never give in/I’ll never give up this fight/If you do, it never changes/We can face the winding road/And the changing tide.” Once more, audiences can relate easily to this accessible content. This line in the song’s chorus is what the band wants its listeners to sing, that they, too, will never give in or up. In times, such as these, such a positive message overall is something that is wholly welcome and needed. To that end, this song is another notable addition to Kill The Machine. It is hardly the last of the album’s most notable songs. ‘Dying to Live’ is one more way in which Kill The Machine shows why it is such a positive debut from Psycle.
Much as is the case with ‘Last Chance for Saints,’ Kill The Machine’s title track and much of the other material, the musical arrangement at the heart of ‘Dying to Live’ is a southern rock-tinged composition with a touch of a blues influence at its base. Of course while the stylistic approach is similar to that of the album’s other works, the actual sound stands on its own merits. In other words, doesn’t just rehash the sound of its counterparts in this record. Keeping that in mind, the song is its own notable work just for its musical arrangement. The sound and energy in the song’s arrangement couples well with the song’s lyrical energy, which according to Salois, is its own social commentary.
Salois said of the song’s lyrical content, “’Dying to Live’ is really about how we try so hard to fit into certain societal groups or ideas and how we are manipulated into thinking we need to be a certain way or have certain things by others.” Once again, here audiences get a lyrical theme to which they can relate with ease. Whether through the media, through our peers or other sources, we as a species feel that pressure every day from so many sources. As a result of that pressure, many of us end up putting that pressure – unnecessarily so – onto ourselves. It is yet another topic that will connect with listeners especially through its accessible lyrics. Salois sings in the song’s lead verse, “When it’s over, can you please let it go/It’s a feeling, like the calm before the storm/Thrown the stone, feel the waves catching up/They will sell you the same old shelter/They will sell you your soul.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Can you feel it/When you finally take control/And the demons show their face the more you know/Thrown the stone/Feel the waves catching up/They will sell you the same old shelter/They will sell you your soul.” While there is plenty of metaphorical language used here, the message is made clear, considering Salois’ statement. That mention of the felling of the “calm before the storm” is something of a statement of that pressure that we feel; that uncertainty that goes through our minds. The mention of the “same old shelter” being sold over and over again, is like saying those extraneous forces (the media, peers, etc.) will push the same belief set time and again, which leads to the feelings being noted here. It’s a warning that we need to heed. We need to take pride in ourselves and who we are – which is the message of ‘Changing Tide’ – and not give in to that pressure to be something that we are not. Considering the energy in the song’s musical arrangement, that message gains even more traction and impact. Keeping that in mind, the song in whole becomes, again, just one more example of what makes Kill The Machine such a strong offering from Psycle. When the song is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the result is a debut that deserves its own share of attention and a work that is a positive debut from this independent rock band.
Psycle’s debut album Kill The Machine is a positive first impression from the independent hard rock band. That is proven through accessible musical arrangements that are themselves radio ready and through lyrical themes that are just as accessible as the albums’ musical content. All three of the songs examined here serve to support the noted statements. The same can be said of any of the album’s other songs, too. All things considered, the album in whole could be the work that, with the right support, could be a breakout for Psycle. Regardless of whether the band gets that support, it can be said of Killing The Machine that all things considered, this record is one of this year’s top new independent album and new rock albums. Killing The Machine is scheduled for release Friday.
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