The Happy Face Of Depression: Psychonaut 4 – “Neurasthenia” (Review)

Neurasthenia is a psychological disorder marked especially by easy fatigability and often by lack of motivation, feelings of inadequacy, and psychosomatic symptoms. As a psycho/pathological term, neurasthenia was used by George Miller Beard in 1869 to denote a condition with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, headache, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, neuralgia and depressed mood.

We’re speaking about the newest material released by Psychonaut 4, whose leader we spoke to in an interview we made a while ago, a pretty intense one. The band is in a sharp increase lately, performing more often on stage and coming to light from the underground shadows. Well, “Neurasthenia” is a classic depressive/rock project and if you could find many elements of black metal before, at the moment they are scarce. This depressive music with metal influences and with a specific sound that may seem naive and positive, has become a genre in its own right. It started to sound more like Lifelover, it has the same musical approach and it has taken new shapes day by day. Although it’s relatively a new trend, we find more active bands: Vanhelga, Kall and Psychonaut 4 are just a few examples. Just to make a distinction between what depressive/rock and depressive/black-metal means, let’s think about Silencer, Nyktalgia, Austere or Thy Light and you’ll see a significant difference. 

Okay, a brief clarification would be just right. Returning to Psychonaut 4, this album feels like the band is more attentive to details, it feels a qualitative leap and a clearer approach. I think the most representative song for this type of music is “Total Leaning to Medness”. I like how it surprises the anger, the melancholy and regret in some sort of metaphorical game between the playful sound of instrumental and the voice severity. Just the proper characteristics for depressive music. On “Bad tRIP” you’ll feel some reminiscent notes; you’ll feel like listening to another album, especially when this states continues on “Song Written In Paris”. There are some very inspired guitars solo which, in combination with the serious sound, make me think about “Neka Morgondagen” by Shining.

“Neurasthenia” has ten songs, a relatively large number considering we’re speaking about a tiresome genre. But this is where I felt the boys’ mastery, they knew to solve the problem in their favor, bringing something new in each song. For instance “Hangover” brings a sound of accordion, broken from the Paris heart of a street corner. A more than interesting gimmick. Besides the fact I was not bored at all, I felt really fascinated by “Neurasthenia”. “Too Late to Call the Ambulance” is an exceptional composition, which caught me like a spell. It’s like they wanted to gather all the best in this album, from a clear influence of Lifelover, to heavy melodicity of a deaf melancholy. A story full of emotion and strength, that can bear a motivation coming from the darkest sides of depression, what makes you believe there it exists happiness when depressed.

Tracklist: 

1. Prologue
2. Death is a Form of Art
3. Sweet Decadance
4. Total Leaning To Madness
5. Bad t.RIP
6. Song Written in Paris
7. Sleeping Pills Suck
8. Hangover
9. Too Late to call an Ambulance
10. Thoughts of Death 

Artwork by Maxime Taccardi
Design by Depressive Visions

You can listen and orderNeurasthenia” on bandcamp.

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