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A (Mis)calculated Effort - 71%

Rhizome, October 4th, 2008

What we have here is an entirely different sounding Psycroptic album than its predecessors. It has some good moments but nothing really memorable . The vocals have become more aggressive, the riffs have got somewhat groove-oriented. After listening to the album a considerable number of times so that it grows on me, I can say that this is a regular run of the mill technical death album and there is absolutely nothing exceptional or ground-breaking about it. There are very less catchy riffs and the ones which you can actually remember at the end . But apart from catchy riffing this album lacks in substance and the riffs are loosely bound together. And unlike their earlier efforts, you will not find any jaw dropping riffs. The riffs are fast and technical but somewhere you can feel that they lack substance. The vocals however are an improvement over 'Symbols of Failure' but still a lot of work needs to be done in this area. The vocals are quite tolerable here, however nothing really exceptional about them. But down the line, after giving the album sufficient time to grow on me , I find that it hasn’t grown on me like their earlier albums. I don’t find myself listening to this album over and over again. The production is very good however and the drums are clear and loud but the clicky sound is annoying at times . David Haley has given another great performance here. This guy sure can play fast and catch up with the riffing with perfection. But that alone cannot be the savior here.

Some of the highlights of a rather weak album. The album opens up with the title track , which instantly hit me. It has to be the most enjoyable track of the album. The riffing and the drumming are precise and impeccable complemented well by the new aggressive style vocals. 'Slaves of Nil' starts off with a nice riff and the vocals complement well. At 1:43 comes a riff which I find myself listening to again and again. The song breaks around 4 and comes up again with a bang after some time. A pretty good track . 'The Shifting Equilibrium' reminds somewhat of the older Psycroptic with the riff frenzy starting at 1:46. 'Removing the Common Bond' is probably the best track alongwith the title track. Some catchy riffing here . The song holds on to you before the rather bizarre ending. 'Horde in Devolution' is not quite impressive except for a few riffs here and there. 'Immortal Army of One' is another highlight of this album. Nicely woven riffs on display here. The album closes with ‘Initiate’ which starts of pretty well with some Nile-esque riffing It goes on pretty well and then comes a great build up to a riff at 4:06. Reminds much of the build up of ‘Merchants of Deceit’. These pretty much sum up the highlights of this album . As I said you can find some good songs here, but I don’t find myself addicted to them as I was with their first two phenomenal albums and partially with ‘Symbols of Failure’.

Being a admirer of Psycroptic over the years, I am not quite impressed with this .The album lacks substance and stands nowhere near their first two releases. Hence the 70%.Overall a pretty tight album, but lack of substance and somewhat generic nature coupled with other factors like the clicky drum sound and the not so impressive song structures prevent me from digging this.

Tracks to check out:
(Ob)Servant
Removing the Common Bond
Slaves of Nil
Immortal Army of One
Initiate