Thursday, December 01, 2011

490 - State of Mind - Psycho Motel - 1995

I realize this is not a metal album. That's three in a row for those of you scoring at home. First, I am going to say why this album is not better, and then I'll tell you why it is in the countdown.

Psycho Motel was the short-lived 1990's band of then former Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith (fanboy alert). Smith put this band together originally as a part time project, but decided to make a go of it full time. Unfortunately, Smith made several mistakes.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake was not doing the vocals himself. Solli is a decent singer, but Adrian's voice fits this music perfectly. I am not necessarily a fan of the guitar sound here either, but it works OK. Also, the band is somewhat unremarkable. Finally, although Smith is a great player himself, he seems to do his best work with a guitar partner. I'm not saying he needed to go hire Dave Murray, but a second guitarist would have complimented Smith's playing quite nicely.

So, what did they do right? It's about the music, Jeb. These are well written, competently performed, memorable songs. There is a groove and vibe here that most rock/metal albums of this era are sadly lacking. Sins of Your Father, Psycho Motel and Time is a Hunter are all fantastic songs. Even a ballad like Western Shore sounds great, and I hate ballads. As a side note, I do not hate ballads because I don't like slower and softer sounds; I hate ballads because they are rarely done well.

So could Psycho Motel have done better here? Of course. And they did do better on their follow-up which I'll discuss later. But for now, this imperfect debut, led by one of the premier players and songwriters of the genre finds itself at number 490.


Polish Guy said...


Anonymous said...

I thought it would be a bit more sort of grim.