For the past 16 years, Psycroptic has been enthusiastically creating technical death metal from the small island of Tasmania, just off the coast of Australia. This four-piece band does everything but slow it down. From the multiple tempo changes, to the melodic riffs that represent the backbone of the memorable songs, this sixth album, that is candidly self-titled Psycroptic, will settle into your CD player (or hard drive if you're 25 and under) like a squatter staking his claim on a beautiful mansion that has been empty for decades.
Psycroptic has been generating a discography over the years, so much so that there's even a live album Initiation as well as a box set more recently released in 2014 entitled The Early Years. This coincidentally can be attributed to recognition this band has earned itself over the years. The charm in this is that this technical death metal is not breaking the rules; they are not writing about aliens, they don't have cheesy album art, there are no fancy filters or editing of gimmicky noises, and there are no movie quotes or synthesized voices speaking of human eradication. Psycroptic just makes technical death metal, and it's liberating.
The drumming is impossible to ignore on Psycroptic. The production seems to emphasize the drumming, and the talent of Dave Haley is on full display. Some segments are so passionate, it's easy to disregard every other instrument and fully be absorbed by the craft at which Dave is so skilled at.
The lead guitar is the other aspect that makes this album such an experience. Its groovy riffs will keep your head bobbing until a seemingly effortless solo is released which comes off very naturally. This demonstrates how competent the band is when writing.
Bands like Psycroptic, who have been around for a while, are easy to enjoy. They are mature musicians, and their music incorporates a focused sound and intention. Simply, what you hear is what you get. High powered music that will not disappoint. This does not mean everyone will love this album. The negatives are few, but obvious. Many, including myself, have a difficult time jamming to these tunes while Jason Peppiatt is their lead vocalist. He is not bad at what he does, it's just the style of vocals clashes with the music. In some cases, his vocal approach really works, and sounds incredible. These sections are evident on the melodic categories. For example, the melodic chorus of "Ending" as well as the chorus on "Ideals That Wont Surrender". The longer, drawn out segments sound fitting, only to quickly revert back to the punk bark/shouting that represents 80% of the remaining vocal passages. Do not let this steer you away if you're not familiar with Peppiatt's style. With time, you'll forget about the vocals and be more focused on the technical aspects these musicians are so talented at performing.
A personal favorite is "Sentence Of Immortality". There is no shortage of entertainment on this track. From the pinch notes to the melodic tremolo picking while the drums exhibit a complex but steady composure. The final 40 seconds will not satiate you unless you keep hitting repeat until the battery dies in your discman (or your hard drive dies for all you late millennials.)
Overall, an excellent self-titled album by some gentlemen who really know how to jam. Real technical death metal without all the smoke and mirrors, pick it up on March 10th, 2015 and be liberated.