Psychonaut, Violate Consensus Reality (Pelagic Records, 2022)

I don't know that it is as common as it may have been previously, but I still find myself wondering about life itself.

It might seem stereotypical to have these contemplations with the reality of a global pandemic among other societal challenges, but my wondering started long before I knew I'd experience a pandemic.

It's with this in mind I introduce you all to Psychonaut and their latest LP, Violate Consensus Reality.

A conceptual record that was created based on various discussions about the nature of life between the members of the band and what they're now able to share as a collective artistic vision. 

While I'd heard about Psychonaut before, my inspiration to review this new record came from seeing the video for the title track which is a startling mix of silhouette-like scenes as well as some footage in nature. The song also features guest vocals from two favorite singers of mine, Colin H. Van Eeckhout of Amenra and Steffanie Mannaerts of Brutus.

Even without the video, you are given a wide variety of sounds to guide you through a song that feels appropriate for our current time in history. Are we ready and glad to accept a reality based upon chosen facts alone and snappy slogans, or are we willing to open our minds? Do we want to find the strength to confront a reality that is becoming seemingly impossible to survive or will we choose to live as victims of circumstances beyond our control?

Throughout this record, I'm reminded of qualities that brought me to be a long-time fan of bands like Gojira, Meshuggah, Cynic, and others who have found ways over the years to balance heavy riffing with occasional intricate rhythms and breathing room for melody to not overwhelm the listener but keep them engaged and desiring of more music.

It also seems appropriate that Psychonaut has found a label home in Pelagic Records, a label that I believe was started by Robin Staps of The Ocean. 

Photo: Gert Stockmans

If you prioritize watching any of the videos made to promote Violate Consensus Reality, the video is for "All Your Gods are Gone" is a particular standout visual experience. I don't want to give too much detail away, but I will say for those that have wondered if life is a simulation or VR-like experience, the artwork will be equally unsettling and enticing as you're charged forward by a bombastic rhythm. 

I've been curious about spirituality for as long as I can remember, with multiple near-death experiences only increasing my curiosity. When conflict seems to become more and more common, it can be normalized and accepted but I don't personally want to ever arrive at that point.

I want to end with this lyric from "All Your Gods are Gone":

"Reclaim yourself
We are shadows of our true human nature
Dig through your shell and remember
Buried in dust, we resurrect the sun"

Get It

Tagged: psychonaut