Psycroptic are among the best technical death metal acts around, and their discography proves that point. The sheer ferocity of their music, chock full of riffs, is what most people normally associate them with. However, the band should also be noted for their incredibly catchy hooks, which are prevalent on every album the band has ever made. It could be argued that the band is the catchiest technical death metal band of the new millennium, and this case is only supported further by their latest offering, a self-titled record that, according to fellow editor Eden Kupermintz, is “one giant hook”.
From the very beginning, the music on the record becomes extremely catchy. The first three songs on the record have some of the catchiest guitar licks imaginable, and Joe Haley makes a case for himself to be enshrined in the tech death hall of fame, which includes the likes of Luc Lemay, Christian Muenzner, and Muhammed Suiçmez. While he may not be as tech-focused as them, he has a great sense of melody, and is able to write some extremely catchy guitar hooks that accompany his brother’s drumming extremely well. The brothers combine to generate some fantastic, blistering fast parts, but also slow it down a bit, such as on ‘Echoes To Come’, which has a slower middle section that is just as heavy as any of their contemporaries in the scene. Some nicely placed bass parts and super consistent vocals only help this album grow into an example for the up-and-comers in the tech death scene even more.
It should also be mentioned that the album is actually quite toned-down in terms of production. In layman’s terms, the recording is extremely clean and not too loud. Everything is extremely audible and there’s not unnecessary loudness. When compared with other albums from the genre, particularly recent ones, it’s a refreshing change of pace to hear such exquisite production coming from a scene that’s notorious for having too much going on at once. Joe Haley’s guitar has some of the cleanest distortion ever put to tape, if that makes any sort of sense. Hopefully Psycroptic set the bar for the future, and this becomes the trend, instead of just making everything as loud and overdriven as possible.
The album is fairly brief, as well. Clocking in at just around 35 minutes, the album is a vicious beast, whose brevity only further enhances the listening experience. Far too often albums are too long, have unnecessary wanking, and have some songs that could easily be trimmed down a couple of minutes. With the majority of songs being around the four-minute mark, the band proves that they can get their point across quick and easy, while still leaving a lasting impression to the listener. It’s an odd thing to see considering recently it seems like death metal albums just keep on getting longer and longer, adding unnecessary songs with parts that shouldn’t be within the song. While the band doesn’t experiment with “epic” songs at all, their music is epic in a different sense of the word; each songs carries the weight of an epic song, but sufficiently and effectively condensed. In the future it might be cool for the band to write a few super long songs, but they have a good thing going right now, and if it ain’t broke, etc.
At the end of the day, Psycroptic add another fantastic album to their catalogue, and likely one that should be considered by many as their opus. It’s everything the band has ever done perfected on one album, with biting lyrics, crushing guitar work, and one of the most in-sync rhythm sections in metal. This album should become a regular staple of the genre, and the songs from this album should become staples for the band to play at their shows for years to come. If you are searching for one of the best albums of the year, and one that will make many year-end lists (or at least should), then look no further. Psycroptic has just the fix for you.
Psycroptic’s Psycroptic gets…