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I've quite often seen this band compared to fellow countrymen Demilich, which I could never decide if I fully agreed with. I won't deny there are some similarities but I've always felt Adramelech offered something quite different from their counterparts, and in fact the majority of their regional scene. Sure, I'm not contesting the brilliance of Demigod etc, but next to Sentenced these were probably my favorite old school death metal act from Finland.
I often find it hard to place a finger on just what it is about Psychostasia that makes me love it so much. I don't normally have a lot of time for death metal, however when the time arises this is exactly the kind of shit I want to hear. The fucking riffs on this album are ingenious, perfectly technical yet always remaining damn heavy, skull splitting in fact. The vocals are awesome, with quite a muddy, suffocating mix giving them an distant, almost ethereal feel. Far from the average cookie monster growls, the vocals here had more in common with the European guard.
As I stated, the production has quite a suffocating feel, yet the clarity is surprisingly good. The drums have an earthy, natural feel to them, the guitar tone is as menacing as they come and the bass just fucking rumbles around, shaking your bowels. This all adds to the dust clogged atmosphere, helped by the awesome album artwork. I wouldn't be surprised if I went out for a spot of grave robbing, only to pry open a tomb and have this album blast out in a cloud of virulent, age old debris.
Blending absolutely classic old school death metal stylings such as "The Book of the Worm" with furious bouts of technical mastery as seen in the title track, Psychostasia is just under 35 minutes of sheer bad-assery. Whilst quite hard to track down on hard copy, this is an album I'd recommend doing anything in your power to hear. Somewhat of a lost gem amongst the mighty old school Finnish death metal scene, I can happily recommend this to any serious fan of old school death metal. This is death metal how it should be and would certainly make my top 10-20 list in the genre. BFA (bad-fucking-ass)
If there is one bad thing about underground music scenes, it's that it's possible for absolute gems to fall through the cracks. The early to mid-90's death metal scene sadly was one which misplaced a lot of great music, and Adramelech's stunning debut could be the biggest loss of the lot. Psychostasia is dripping with originality, passion and vision. Every minute of this album is filled with an unmatched style of strange yet uncompromising riffing and a unique and instantly memorable sense of obscure melody. It fuses the awkward, alien riffing style of Demilich's legendary debut Nespithe with a healthy dose of vitriolic and vicious traditional Finish death metal. The resulting combination delivers the best of both worlds, making Psychostasia an album suited for any death metal fan.
One of the keys to Psychostasia being so interesting is that it has two distinct styles. One which is the odd Demilich inspired strangeness, quite a bit more aggressive in fashion, but missing none of complex fretwork and song structuring. This is mixed in with a lot of straight up death metal riffing and Dismember-like use of melody, which gives the album a sense of power and violence that shames their fellow countrymen. Adramelech simply never give you too much of one thing, there's elements of technical death metal, old school Finnish brutality and doomy heaviness, all displayed with an airy, almost black metal atmosphere. There are so many ideas on offer that it never gets stale.
This atmosphere is driven by the roomy production with no instrument dominating the sound, and the by the unconventional throaty grunts of the Jarkko Rantanen. Every instrument is audible and clear, leaving enough space to show off the various technical elements that make up about half this album, but without turning it into an in-band dick waving contest. The vocals are quiet and the bass is loud, but this seems like less of a mixing mistake and more of a conscious decision. The loud bass helps drive the grooves through what could otherwise break down into a mess of angular rhythms, and the strangely distant vocals add to the alien quality of the music. This is much like how Antti Boman's burps aid Demilich's atypical sound, but these have the same effect whilst not seeming quite so 'silly', and pack quite a bit more punch.
Musically, Psychostasia is a reasonably technical affair, about a 3rd of it is straight forward old school DM and traditional melodies, so it avoids the technical death metal tag, but the album is quite a challenge to digest fully. It has layers and layers of complex rhythm work to go along with the speedy fretwork to keep an inquisitive minded listener interested for years, and enough stomping riffs to keep your casual headbanger more than entertained. Tempos rise and fall frequently but they do so smoothly, without ever resorting to moronic stop-start “song writing”. This is where the majority of the low end technicality lies, the drumming is not packed with crazy fills, but Rantanen's use of various beats ranging from simplistic old school pounding rhythms, to polyrhythmic double bass patterns, to off-time beats, to blasts and his transitions from one to another are just as impressive as the most complex of fill players.
That isn't to say that the leads and riffs aren't absolutely top notch, because they are, but it's the compositional skills which bring it all together which makes this album so good. There simply isn't anything this strange that flows this well. With that said, the leads are all exceptional, usually melodic, but filled with the trademarked off centre melodic patterns, and full of technical flair, again giving the album yet another level that it can be appreciated on.
Adramelech's debut is an absolute gem that was somehow lost among the masses of quality output from Finland during the early/mid 90’s, and one that will hopefully be able to thrive with the internet. It's got all of the quirky charm of other obscure albums which have been dug up over the last few years, but it's still fast, catchy and aggressive at the same time.
Here, we have a band, consisting of members from the Finnish death metal band, Demigod. On this album, Adramelech's full-length debut, we hear very similar qualities to the fore-mentioned Demigod. A very interesting album, mixing the black and death metal genres quite harmoniously, and subtely adding harmonics to the thick wall of riffs this album contains.
"PsychoStasia" is a very dynamic, and interesting album, that may cause the listener to actually *listen* to the album, and appreciate all the complex structures, and melodies that are quite evident here, instead of just banging your head against the wall and getting a well deserved concussion.
The music on this album, is ever changing. While staying true to the death metal genre, Adramelech intertwines slow, almost melodic riffing passages, that make "PsychoStasia" more obscure than your everyday "oldschool" death metal release. Believe me when I say, however, that this style works quite well, and still retains the feeling of a death metal album.
The bass is LOUD as fuck, and at times, seems to overpower the other instruments. Don't fret, for this allows for a flowing rhythm, that remains heavy 'till the last beat. One of the guitars will follow along with the drum beat, which is something you don't hear much of anymore. Another guitar will act as the leader, offering up the main riffs to the songs, sometimes going off into a whole new dimension. A very bizarre style to say the least.
Vocally, the album is solid. Jarkko Rantanen barks songs about religion, and mythologies, maintaining an agressiveness not always heard within the genre. Though, at times, it seems as if he is standing five feet from the microphone. Some might see this as weak production, but I see it as just another positive influence on the doomy atmosphere surrounding "PsychoStasia". The overall production is that which you would expect of a blackened-death metal band, and Adramalech captures it perfectly.
For any fans of the death, or black metal genres, try this album out. It's heavy, it's fucked up, it's original, and yet it should contain at least something that anyone could like.