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Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

Thought Chamber: Psykerion (InsideOut Music)

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Progressive metal has no shortage of sci-fi concept albums. But before you go criticizing San Francisco-based Thought Chamber for adding to the already saturated space-saga market, give Psykerion a good long listen.

This thing sounds like it took six years to make—which, in fact, it did. Three of the five band members also play in other groups, plus it’s not easy to craft an epic story about a boy genius and his critical mission through the far reaches of the Psykerion galaxy. If you want to appeal to more than nerds, the songs must be strong, even if their titles read like the track listing on an early Rush album: “In the Words of Avakus,” “Behind the Eyes of Ikk” and “Xyrethius II.”

The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Michael Harris, Thought Chamber gives nods to prog’s roots (the Yes-like “Isle of Bizen”) and the genre’s new generation (the crazy instrumental “Planet Qwinkle”). While short instrumentals move the story along, vocalist Ted Leonard delivers a convincing performance that, finally, establishes him as one of the best singers in the biz.

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