PSYCHONAUT is a psychedelic post-metal collective from Mechelen, Belgium.
Their signature sound is heavily influenced by 70’s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, but also draws inspiration from more modern sources like Tool and Amenra.
PSYCHONAUT literally came from out of nowhere –Mechelen, Belgium, to be precise– but their debut album Unfold The God Man showcases truly world class musicianship and songwriting abilities, heavily influenced by 70’s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, but also drawing inspiration from contemporary heavy artists like Tool or Amenra. Recorded by Chiaran Verheyden at the renowned Daft Studios in Malmedy, Unfold The God Man is an intricate concept album tackling philosophical and existential themes, and ultimately exploring mankind’s re-ascension to a higher level of consciousness. The nearly 70- minute-long album contains material from over 3 years of incessant writing, arranging and recording. “We’ve always been interested in religion, spirituality and philosophy”, comments Stefan DeGraef, who is in charge of 100% of the guitars and 50% of the vocals in PSYCHONAUT. “We’ve meditated together, had long discussions about the nature of life, the origin of consciousness, the purpose of existing etc. for as long as we’ve known each other. We share a common vision and have a connection. We were blessed with some experiences in the past which fundamentally changed the way we look at the universe and ourselves.” It comes as no surprise that there is a lot of attention to detail behind Unfold the God Man: one such detail is the fact that the album was recorded with the note A tuned to 432 Hz, because this relates to the idea that 432 is a multiple of the number 9, which is used in much of the symbolism to which the band refers. The three-piece made themselves a name across the Benelux underground with a raw and compelling live show, which merges their wall of sound with intense visual landscapes and moody lighting design. Contrast and variation are the two main anchors on which they base their musical and visual ideas. Since 2013, they have released 2 physical EP’s – ‘24 Trips Around the Sun’ (2014) and ‘Ferocious Fellowman’ (2016) and taken the stages of Desertfest, Rock Herk and Alcatraz Festivals.
Peter Le Page – drums
Stefan De Graef – guitars & vocals
Thomas Michiels – bass & vocals
Unfold the God Man
1.All I Saw as a Huge Monkey 06:46
2.The Story of Your Enslavement 04:42
3.Kabuddah 05:46 video
4.The Fall of Consciousness 08:52
6.Celestial Dictator 06:33
7.Halls of Amenti 06:15
9.Nothing is Consciousless 15:39
“Unfold the God Man”, the new album from Psychonaut.
Out now via Pelagic Records!
PSYCHONAUT literally came from out of nowhere –Mechelen, Belgium, to be precise– but their debut album Unfold The God Man showcases truly world class musicianship and songwriting abilities, heavily influenced by 70’s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, but also drawing inspiration from contemporary heavy artists like Tool or Amenra.
Recorded by Chiaran Verheyden at the renowned Daft Studios in Malmedy, Unfold The God Man is an intricate concept album tackling philosophical and existential themes, and ultimately exploring mankind’s re-ascension to a higher level of consciousness. The nearly 70- minute-long album contains material from over 3 years of incessant writing, arranging and recording.
“We’ve always been interested in religion, spirituality and philosophy”, comments Stefan DeGraef, who is in charge of 100% of the guitars and 50% of the vocals in PSYCHONAUT. “We’ve
meditated together, had long discussions about the nature of life, the origin of consciousness, the purpose of existing… more
released March 6, 2020
Peter Le Page – drums
Stefan De Graef – guitars & vocals
Thomas Michiels – bass & vocals
Unfold The God Man is:
Produced by Stefan De Graef & Chiaran Verheyden.
Recorded and mixed by Chiaran Verheyden, assisted by Arthur Moelants.
Mastered by Laurens Grossen @ Motormusic.
Recorded at DAFT studios, Malmedy (BE).
Artwork, design & lay-out by Sam Coussens.
Chiaran Verheyden – synths & soundscapes
Victor Jacobs, Matthias Van Hulle & Peter Le Page, – percussion
Bram Lobbestael – didgeridoo & throat singing
Sam Coussens, Tim Van Eyken, Cédric Peeters, Sander Rom, Peter Le Page, Stefan De Graef, Thomas Michiels – choir vocals
Dieter Vaganée – saxophones
Thanks to: Chiaran Verheyden, Sam Coussens, Victor Jacobs, Laurens Grossen, Motormusic Mechelen, Laurens Primusz, Stijn Verdonckt, Daft Studios, Arthur Moelants, Jasper Segers, Lukas Raport, Servaas Steurbaut, Tim Van Eyken, Sander Rom, Cédric Peeters, Mattias Van Hulle, Bram Lobbestael, Dieter Vaganée, Franky Lucas, Didier Goossens, Gerold Van Thieghem, Gert Stockmans, Thomas Van Dingenen, Mike Keirsbilck, Nele Buys, the Consouling Sounds team, Harm Peters, Sofie Smeets, Anneleen De Witte, Tessa Schoon, Romy Schoon, Sandra Dupont, Stijn Le Page, Stijn Kenens, Bernd Van Praet, Lieven Hendrickx, Kurt Peeters, Jens De Vos, Alex Agnew, Andries Beckers, Dafus Demon, Jef Verschueren, Dries De Roey, Clint Beed of SMOD, L’Itch, Pothamus, Off The Cross, King Hiss, Huracán, Farrm, the Music City Scene and all of our friends and family who inspire us.
Psychonaut – Unfold the God Man Review
I love the color purple. Such a rich palette of hues lie within this particular segment of the spectrum, all of which pair well with an extensive array of complements. Purple can convey royalty, seduction, obliteration, depression, and damn near everything else provided a competent application thereof. Of course, that holds true for most colors, but just seeing purple is more exciting to me than seeing any other color. This brings us to Belgian post-metal trio Psychonaut, whose debut album Unfold the God Man features a gorgeous cover warmly ensconced in my current color of choice. Enamored though I am by the artwork, I must focus my critical eye and ask the important questions. Namely, what happens when I Unfold the God Man?
Answering that question requires some postulations, not the least of which regards content description. The post-metal tag assigned by the band/label seems accurate. Initial spins likened Psychonaut to The Ocean, but with better riffs. Further investigations revealed that a touch of sludgy grime and a thick swirl of psychedelia also permeates through this God Man‘s pores. However, the kaleidoscopic metamorphoses each and every track undergoes is what sets Psychonaut apart from most of their peers. Their particular songwriting fluidity suggests a higher maturity level than a band this young has any right to display on a debut full length.
Opening instrumental “All I Saw as a Huge Monkey”1 is a bold opening move as it’s six minutes long. It halfway pays off by rippling through fun riffs and oscillating song structures. There begins “The Story of Your Enslavement,” an engrossing tale involving massive licks and acerbic screams which belie my usual expectations of post-metal. Textured cleans join in and bring additional dynamics to the track, and from there the entirety just keeps building. Then, shortly after “The Fall of Consciousness” comes around I start reeling a bit, because a Mastodon fell into The Ocean holding Tools for some reason and released a mind-infecting lead in the process, leaving me totally at Psychonaut‘s mercy. Wave after wave crashes over me and eventually I reach my personal favorites, “Celestial Dictator” and “The Halls of Amenti.” Throat-sung chants coalesce with a sweet didgeridoo lead to kick things off, hypnotizing me so completely that I don’t even see the leviathan gang-bang of riffs approaching. If you have any semblance of a skeletal structure left when it’s said and done then Illuminati fucking confirmed.
There is no question that Psychonaut know their way around the long-form, and in their practice of it formed one of the most dynamic albums of the year thus far. These 70 minutes fly by, and I astound myself with how frequently I want to Unfold the God Man back to back. However, the biggest issue pulling it away from true “great” status is, unsurprisingly, poor self-editing. Part of this can be attributed to the psychedelic tint the trio applies to their brand of post-metal, since psychedelia by definition requires periods of nebulous instrumentation, so long as the result is your mind losing time. But, in some spots here, I only lose myself for so long before I regain awareness and realize that I just missed awakening in a trippy place of inverted colors, cloud puppies and yellow submarines. “Nexus” is a perfect example of this, as are “Sananda” and closer “Nothing is Consciousness.” Each, especially the closer, has many redeeming qualities that keep you guessing—and you will always be wrong. But all of those songs also noodle around for too long somewhere near or in the middle of the track. It’s not enough to fully disrupt immersion, but it is noticeable.
If Psychonaut tightened things up just a little bit more, Unfold the God Man would be in the running for Album o’ the Year. As it stands, the record represents a substantial achievement for a debut held back by too much content. You don’t have to be a fan of post-whatevs to get on board with this, though, and I highly recommend all of you do. I’ll be expecting you.
Brilliant Belgian trio of post rock, using layered textures of progressive, sludge, psychedelic, stonner, and thrash.
His debut concept album, Unfold the God Man, took three years to complete, filled with noisy, distorted, immersive, hit riffs, a prominent stonner-style bass and a vigorous drumming, mixing an intense and manly instrumental with vocals that mark destruction. , lost in chaos and existence.
From a reflexive immersion in the loss of consciousness and its overcoming, within existential dualities, its melody creating beautiful musical landscapes, creative, intense, narrative, well structured and elaborated with mastery.
All the melodies are great, my favorite is Nothing is Consciousless, long, creative, shows all the resources and talents played by exquisite arrangements and an amazing performance.