PSYCROPTIC was always a band that sat on the edge of my peripheral vision. Word spread about their impressive technical playing, but their lacking leap into the mainstream prevented any true devotion of mine to listen to their albums. When the chance to review their latest “The Inherited Repression” came up, I leapt at the opportunity to see what these Australians were up to that made them such a catch.
Their fifth album is quite the technical release. Balancing melody, abrasive polyrhythmic assaults, and a modern twist that utilizes a little bit of Hardcore punch mentalities, PSYCROPTIC are anything but your average Tech Death act. Their approach to song writing is very Progressive and their playing abilities break down into aspects that few other bands of the genre utilize to the extent that they do.
On first spin their lacking focus on brutal riffing, normality for some of the best Tech Death bands out there, was a little disorienting. The guitar riffs are not the focus of “The Inherited Repression” and more often than not the dueling guitar work feels like its built entirely of leads. With further listens it comes to fruition that the riffs are there, they are just so bejeweled with technical melodies and wankery that they rip out like two leads intertwining one another. This leaves most of the more brutal aspects of the band, you know because they are classified as Death Metal, to the rhythm sections and the vocals.
The drumming for “The Inherited Repression” is impressive to say the least. It blasts with double bass intensity and still splashes with killer fills to balance out the more bouncy bass work that underlies all of it. Even the vocalist, Peppiatt, seems more concerned with rhythm delivery than the guitars do. This does give his roaring voice somewhat of a barking style delivery that brings out a Hardcore element to the band that can be sensed on numerous tracks like the brutal “Carriers Of The Plague” or the flourished “From Scribe To Ashes.”
Although PSYCROPTIC are not the norm in the Tech Death genre with “The Inherited Repression” (they even have acoustic work on the album! GASP!), it’s this ability to move in different directions with their song writing and technicality that makes it such a wonderment of an album. It batters with heavy rhythm work and dazzles with its almost endless guitar intertwining and best yet, it rarely leaves the song writing out to dry with the performances.
Songs to check out: “Carriers Of The Plague,” “Euphorinasia,” “The Sleepers Have Awoken.”
(Online June 18, 2012)