When I first laid hands on “Odd Senses”, I listened to the first track, “44”, and decided to review the album later as I thought it would be easy to review such a shambles. I had never heard of PSYOPUS previously, and I have to admit I am still unacquainted with their earlier material. ‘One listen should be enough to decipher what this travesty is all about’, I thought. Well, after ten listens, I am still completely astonished by what this album has to offer and surprisingly left without a clue on how to write an adequate review. Therefore, instead of rambling on for pages, I will stick to the old say: less is more.
Musically, PSYOPUS is not a band that writes catchy riffs and poignant melodies because its mission is not necessarily to please your ears; its music is played at astronomical speeds and with unique technicality, and its foremost target is your brain. However, this is not a hundred percent fair statement, as the instrumental “A Murder To Child”, with its classical instrumentation and jazzy solos, begs to differ. Concerning the style, imagine a band whose music is as complex as DYSRHYTHMIA’s yet ten times faster and twenty times heavier, and voila – ladies and gentlemen – PSYOPUS. PSYOPUS, however, is not an instrumental band, and it is worthy to note that the vocals have a Metalcore rather than a Death Metal quality. Nevertheless, even if such vocals are not to your liking, do not let them be the reason why you should exclude PSYOPUS without a second thought.
The music is calculatingly frenetic or frenetically calculated to the point of sounding quite restrained. There is no idea, no matter how wild or seemingly impossible, that the quartet cannot bring to life; thus, the music played on “Odd Senses” is precisely what the band had envisioned before they went to the studio, and not some deformed riffs poorly executed for lack of adroitness. Moreover, the last 20-minte untitled track is a collage of random ideas put so surreally into one composition. It might be an expensive joke for all I know, but it tells you quite a lot about the way PSYOPUS’ four brains work together. This is not the only track that employs this technique, but the ideas are less haphazardly and more integrally thrown into the songs elsewhere—as is the case in “The Burning Halo”, “Boogeyman” and “Choker Chain”. Besides, creativity is not lacking whatsoever, and each idea in each song proves just that—a multitude of influences are blended together in new blood and the result is one of sheer originality.
“Odd Senses” is an unconventional album by all standards, and it establishes PSYOPUS as rebels who do not conform to the criteria which generally define technicality. For PSYOPUS, being too technical does not inescapably mean alienating the audience, nor does it entail making the songs more inaccessible and less entertaining. However, in order to enjoy “Odd Senses” to the full, one needs to listen to it with an open mind, both receptively and perspectively speaking. The bands’ ideas for creative song-writing are never-ending, but their vision is extremely deviant; thus, those who are into traditional approaches to music will find “Odd Senses” quite unorthodox, if music at all. As for those who are always on the prowl for new sounds, they should certainly add PSYOPUS to their list. Fans of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and DYSRHYTHMIA should also take notice, but bear in mind, PSYOPUS is a totally different story.
(Online March 12, 2009)