Psychework – “The Dragons Year” (Ranka Kustannus)
Notwithstanding the cheesy album cover, Finland’s Psychework play an impressive modern heavy metal similar in style to Evergrey and the mighty Kamelot. Formed out of the ashes of Machine Men, who were highly successful in their 13 year run with 3 full-length albums plus an EP, vocalist Toni Parviainen and guitarist J-V Hintikka decided to form Psychework, which right away I can say doesn’t sound like its predecessor! Despite battling with leukemia, Parviainen remains in fine form, still retaining his high but clean and soulful vocals as Hintikka – along with fellow guitarist Juha Takanen – comfortably mix heavy with soft riffs while Otto Närhi’s keyboards add to more than a momentary heart flutter on the passionate material. Indeed, that seems to be the essence of this new band, who at times skillfully use symphonic elements including flutes as well as the more expected neo classical soloing. That said, there’s equally plenty of straight up modern metal in there too, hence why they defer to the generic ‘Heavy Metal’ genre label. Melodically strong, dark and progressive, Psychework have taken their time to build a collection of well composed and heartfelt songs from the symphonic bliss of ‘Bullet With My Name‘ to the Kamelot like ballad ‘Barricades Won’t Fall’ and the prog passion of ‘Tear Of The Phoenix’. While hardly being a consolation to old Machine Men fans “The Dragons Year” is proof of the continuing talent in a new band that is truly worthy as a successor.