Hot off the Press

Psychothermia | Slash & Burn

by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —

PsychothermiaFor some hard rock aficionados, the thought of another corporate, cookie-cutter modern rock band is enough to make them grab the nearest axe and go on a murderous rampage that starts at the nearest Hot Topic and ends in a sea of soccer moms softly singing Nickelback.

Well, good news for those slaughter-prone aficionados—Psychothermia sound nothing like Nickelback and are unlikely to generate spontaneous axe-slinging urges. Instead, this indie band (formally known as Canobliss) exhibit the kind of intense intelligence and intricacy that is so often ignored in today’s rock music climate. This is a different breed of modern hard rock that refuses to follow the mass market manual while still remaining accessible. No easy feat, that. Then again, it has been said that in order to break the rules, you must first follow them. Psychothermia stick to the playbook just enough to appease the modern rock market, yet refuse to dumb things down—musically or lyrically—to the brain cell deficient levels that popular music seems to embrace, proving it is possible to be both mainstream and different.

Time and time again you will think you know what a song is about to do…and then it does something else. Call it progressive if you will, but do not conjure up images of dull, boring, insomnia-curing epics. Psychothermia are most certainly a modern hard rock band; they just march to their own rhythm, head-bang to their own beat. And really, isn’t that what rock ‘n’ roll should be about? The scene is bloated with a bazillion conformist bands perfectly willing to suck the cylindrical meat of the popular music gatekeepers in order to climb the ladder, but Psychothermia doesn’t conform and doesn’t suck.

It’s not that corporate rock doesn’t have a place in the pantheon; with its simple, catchy hooks and instant gratification, the genre lends itself to easy enjoyment, but that enjoyment is typically of the fast food variety. Psychothermia are not interested in being just another Big Mac. Yet, neither are they interested in being some pretentious, highbrow gourmet concoction that nobody will eat except upper crust snobs. Again we see the dual personalities at play, the Jekyll & Hyde syndrome, yin and yang.

Take the guitars, for example. They pack all the beefy crunch the modern rock genre demands, with plenty of punch and power in the riffs, but they are nuanced differently than a band like Saving Abel. Same for the choruses; those seeking huge hooks and soaring anthems should look elsewhere. Yes, there are choruses and they are solid, but they are not the primary focus, as the band is determined to avoid any semblance of pop music predictability. Simply put, Psychothermia doesn’t do what other bands would do. For some, that will be as off-putting as a cow patty in a hot tub…for others, it will be the kind of blessing that makes them shout, “Hallelujah!”

If the clone-on-clone inbreeding running rampant through modern rock has you so despondent that you are thinking about slitting your wrists, hold off until you give Psychothermia a listen. With their nimble balance of rock edginess and modern slickness, they just may restore your faith. By offering something familiar and yet something fresh in the same package, these guys deserve to heat up the charts. Then again, as Clint Eastwood once said, deserve has got nothing to do with it. But hey, the fickleness of the rock gods aside, Psychothermia are the real deal in a world full of fakes. Only 350 copies of this EP are being pressed, so grab yours today and prepare to feel the Slash & Burn.

Genre: Modern Hard Rock

Johan Maldonado (vocals)
Jon Russo (guitar)
Mike Russo (drums)
Chenzo Vidalez (bass)

Track Listing
1. Anarchy
2. Crazy X
3. Slash & Burn
4. The Fight
5. All the Diamonds
6. Danger Sign


Label: Independent

Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10