The Inherited Repression
01. Carriers of The Plague
02. Forward To Submission
04. The Throne of Kings
05. Unmasking The Traitors
06. Become The Cult
07. From Scribe To Ashes
09. The Sleepers Have Awoken
Australia’s Psycroptic are an interesting bunch. Their sophomore album, Scepter of the Ancients, is one of the most unique and well-made tech death albums of all time. On top of that, there’s quite a bit of division among fans of the band between original vocalist Chalky, who had a frantic delivery and a huge range of (often weird) sounds, whereas their new vocalist Jason Peppiatt is more consistent but less varied. Personally, I am a fan of both in their respective songs, because most people realize that old and new Psycroptic are very different animals. Their previous album, 2008’s (Ob)Servant, borders on groove-death metal at times, even though it holds on to the techy aspect that defines the band. The Inherited Repression, for better or for worse, is a continuation of the sound on the previous record. This is not to say it’s not technical, but it’s not as hyperactive as the first few albums of the band. This is a good thing in a way, because the songs flow better, but some might take it as a drawback. Even then, it’s still more energetic than most of (Ob)Servant. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take an actual look at the album, shall we?
Psycroptic are probably the band whose songwriting I’ve dissected the most, because they are my biggest influence when it comes to making my own music. This is because Joe Haley is one of the most original guitar players out there, and this definitely shows in Psycroptic. While there might not be laser fast sweeps or crazy solos on this album, the stuff he pulls off (guitar pun intended) is much more difficult than those, but people who don’t have an understanding of guitar are unlikely to recognize this. Unlike most other technical albums, this isn’t a strike against the album though. Whereas many bands build their foundation on technicality, Psycroptic elegantly integrate it into the melting pot of their sound. When you get down to the basics, this album is full of very tight riffs that make you want to bang your head. And it sounds unlike any other band.
The Haley brothers clearly have their specific sound, but The Inherited Repression doesn’t sound stale at all, because they constantly experiment with their sound and every riff is a new curveball. The production is very similar to (Ob)Servant, which means everything but the bass is very clearly audible and easy to pick out. It’s true that Jason Peppiatt has only two voices and his lack of variety is kind of frustrating at times, but I’m very certain that Chalky wouldn’t have done better with these songs, even though I love his work. These songs are simply written to work with Jason’s voice. Non-believers should listen to ‘Euphorinasia’, which I heard live 2 years ago and didn’t really like, because the singer was a fill-in for Jason. Now that I get to hear the album version with Jason’s actual vocals, it sounds absolutely beastly and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s probably among Psycroptic’s slowest tracks, but there are still sudden explosions of notes that should clear the minds of doubters.
Earlier, I said that this album feels like a continuation of (Ob)Servant. Let me explain; (Ob)Servant felt like the Haley brothers were wearing the wrong shoes at times. It’s clear that they wanted to be more groovy, but they went overboard with the groove and they weren’t really feeling the technical aspects as much as they did in the older albums and had no idea how to interact with Jason. The Inherited Repression solves all these problems; nothing feels like filler and every part flows perfectly. Jason feels like he’s been there all along, and this album is basically what (Ob)Servant should have been. ‘Become the Cult’ is the down low, groovy song that they couldn’t really pull of before. ‘The Throne of Kings‘ does weird things with the guitar that also fit in with the song. It feels like they lose track around ‘From Scribe To Ashes’, but they come back in full form in ‘Deprivation‘, which feels like a better ‘Initiate‘.
Overall, this album is a strictly better (Ob)Servant, which is not as bit a leap as previous Psycroptic albums, but it’s clear that the band are settling down with the sound that they want to achieve. The guitar work is as mindblowing as ever, and there’s lots of neck-breaking moments thrown between them, which was a bit lacking in their older releases. ‘The Sleepers Have Awoken’ is probably the best song of the Peppiatt-era Psycroptic, and most other songs are way better than any other song they’ve written with Peppiatt. This album is a significant step up from their previous 2 releases, and is definitely a must-get for death metal fans. It’s a bit slower than most death metal, but it makes up for the lack of speed in BPM by having really fast and tight guitars that play the most original riffs I’ve heard since Scepters of the Ancients, and if you’re a Chalky fan there’s a slight chance this may convert you. Either way, it’s their best album since Chalky left. An amazing way to start the new year.