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Album Reviews : Psycroptic – Psycroptic

By on March 3, 2015

483753In an age where technical mastery is almost the norm in metal and is also arguably becoming stale, few bands are able to stand out from the crowd when relying on their talent alone, regardless of how skilled they may be. This is what makes Aussie technical death metal kingpins, Psycroptic so good. Their technical abilities are second to none, matched only by their ability to write good, memorable songs. Yes, Psycroptic are the kind of band that can not only make seasoned musicians froth at the mouth and feel like total novices at the same time, but they can also appeal to the plagues of non-muso metal fans out there too. Thankfully, their new, self-titled album is no exception.

Kicking off with the monstrously epic track, ‘Echoes To Come’ and the fast and very evil sounding ‘Ending’, it is obvious from the start that this album intends on leaving no-one standing. It’s intense, it’s filled with all kinds of impossibly juicy riffs and it showcases each member’s seemingly unlimited musical talent. Even after six albums, Psycroptic are still not only delivering the goods, but showing other bands how it’s done.

Tracks 3 and 4, ‘A Soul Once Lost’ and ‘Cold’ are near perfect examples of Psycroptic’s unsurpassed ability to blow people’s minds with their playing and then bring everything back into focus with huge melodies and incredibly atmospheric phrases. ‘Cold’ emphasizes this even further, with its unrelenting groove and intensity.

Fans of Psycroptic would know that the band has used elements of thrash metal in their songs on previous albums, but never before has it been so obvious as it is on track 5, ‘Setting The Skies Ablaze’. While not a pure thrash song, its influence is completely undeniable, especially in the opening few riffs and verses. Of course, by mid-way through the song its feel takes a groovier turn, before becoming downright heavy. This is easily one of the best songs on the album.

Other honourable mentions from the album include: ‘Sentence Of Immortality’, a simpler track (as far as Psycroptic goes) that holds its roots in atmospheric black metal and ‘The World Discarded’, which is unmistakably Psycroptic and likely to be a fan-favourite. However, perhaps best of all is the album’s closer, ‘Endless Wandering’, which starts off heavy and fast, before breaking into an extremely catchy, monster of a riff and ending with a section so dark it belongs on the soundtrack to Hell. It is the perfect way to end an album.

It isn’t easy writing your sixth album (just ask Metallica), staying fresh while at the same time keeping the sound your fanbase has grown to love is a near impossible task. There are some bands, like Slayer and AC/DC, that overcome this problem by never straying from their proven formula, and others, like Psycroptic, who let their sound naturally evolve with each album. Although this album prominently features the groove and technical prowess we have all come to expect from Psycroptic, it also features other elements, including bigger choruses and more obvious thrash and grind influences. Moreover, it’s a lot darker than Psycroptic’s previous two offerings, 2008’s Ob(Servant) and 2012’s The Inherited Repression, especially vocally. In fact, it features some of the biggest and best choruses Psycroptic vocalist Jason Peppiatt has ever mustered.

Overall, this album isn’t the best Psycroptic offering I’ve heard, but it certainly is up there. It’s got everything you want in a good tech-death album, scrap that, a good metal album: technicality, extreme speed, amazing melody, dark lyrics, unfathomable riffs and an incredible groove. Whether you’re an old-school fan of the band or a newcomer to tech-death in general, this is an album you must buy.

Psycroptic don’t need to prove how good they are, they just are.

Band: Psycroptic
Album: Psycroptic
Year: 2015
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Label: Prosthetic Records, EVP
Origin: Tasmania

1. Echoes to Come
2. Ending
3. A Soul Once Lost
4. Cold
5. Setting the Skies Ablaze
6. Ideals That Won’t Surrender
7. Sentence of Immortality
8. The World Discarded
9. Endless Wandering