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Australian technical death metal band Psycroptic sets the bar higher than I expected with The Inherited Repression, the band's fifth studio record. The twisted and wicked vocal performance of Matthew Chalk was clearly missing out on the last album. This full length is without a doubt much superior to its predecessor, Ob(Servant), for many reasons. First of all, the vocalist, Jason Pepiatt, delivers with more aggressiveness and intensity than ever. You can feel his energy and his anger on the third song, Euphorinasia, which begins with a deadly wrath. It's a great thing that he finally realized he was in a death metal band. You can definitely tell that he increased the range and strength of his voice, losing a lot of the hardcore elements to be replaced by more powerful growls. Secondly, the production is much better on this record because all the instruments are well balanced, which is something I really appreciate when I listen to death metal. Although, like the last reviewer mentioned, even with headphones the bass is nearly inaudible, but it really doesn't bother me since they fixed the loud drums trigger, which was problematic on Ob(Servant). The vocals were also lower in the mix on that album and sounded like shit.
The Inherited Repression deserves an honourable mention because the band really kicks ass on tempo transition. In my opinion, I think that this is a great album because it can keep you entertained till the end. It can be compared to a roller coaster (uptempo, downtempo), because it has so much variety. Brutality and speed is not always the key to an established work of brilliance, some bands use these elements as an asset and Psycroptic are competent at doing this. An excellent example of this point can be found between the transition of the first two songs, Carriers of The Plague and Forward to Submission. The first two songs starts with brutal drumming and midpaced tempo and slowly evolves as band introduces more technical onslaught of riffage per sections. The quality and amount of riffs on this album is fucking incredible. It is interesting, because every song throws out variety of styles, from thrash metal to more melodic patterns. You can find a great example of this at the beginning of the song From Scribe to Ashes (at exactly 1:47).
I also noticed the band decided to introduce more acoustic guitar parts into their sound, which is a fantastic idea to me because they're not over used, nor boring. The eighth track, Deprivation, is a successful progressive approach with a constantly evolving atmosphere that takes the listener through different emotions. It combines a dark ambiance right at beginning, the concordance and addition of guitar creates and increases the crescendo movement further into the song. At exactly 4:25 it is the paroxysm of technicality and some vicious blast beats take place. The drummer is very talented and can adapt his style to the band's increasing variety. The last track, The Sleepers Awaken, shows different aspects and starts with a serious headbanging groove. It is a great conclusion and shows a lot of promise for the band's future.
Overall, I would like to say that fans of the old stuff like The Symbols of Failure and The Scepters of Ancients won't be disappointed by this newest effort from Psycroptic. The critics towards the new vocalist Jason Peppiatt are undeniably justified in comparing him to Matthew Chalk, but on this record he really improved himself and is suitable for the band's modern sound change and taste. Psycroptic totally nailed it this time and probably bailed out the sceptic mood that took place for awhile. The hype is real and it is truly a return to form. I'm very positive about what's coming next. I believe that Fans of Gorod, Spawn of Possession and Decrepit Birth will be pleased by The Inherited Repression. It is far from being a masterpiece, but it is very accessible and will find itself praised amongst the scene for building a stronger opponent to Ob(servant)'s mistakes and miss-steps. Highly recommended, don't miss this massive roller coaster of fun and brutality!
I have never heard a guitarist like Joe Haley. Not ever. The degree of creativity in his fluttering, dystopian riffing is in its own dimension, like the sounds of some nightmarish technological super society falling into fire and darkness. They are the basis of The Inherited Repression, pure and simple, as he and his brother, drummer David Haley, paint 9 succinct portraits of jarring, zig-zagging chaos across the shattered horizon.
This is basically an endless procession of innovative riffing ideas, technical in execution but simple in spirit and concept, as the rhythm section provides an acrobatic core for this lone guitarist to spiral into unknown galaxies, with vocalist Peppiatt lending dry, rough, powerful yells to provide a consistent, unsettling counterpoint. His style does not change much throughout, a contrast to the variety shown in the last couple albums, but he lacks nothing in power, and the performance resonates perfectly against the poignant, ever-shifting landscape of notation. In all the overwhelming speed, technicality, and mechanistic rage, he produces a subtle, agonized spark of humanity, a withered, thorny flower struggling to protrude from endless cyborg carnage. The focus is surely on the tightrope intensity of Joe’s performance, but everybody here plays an important role in defining the sound. I only wish the bass tone was more pronounced, as even after around ten spins I can’t really comment on Cameron Grant’s contribution.
The rather direct, savage slant of The Inherited Repression is something of a new direction for Psycroptic, much less wild and overtly technical than past records, possessing an almost thrash-like compositional attitude. The end result is much less cluttered and psychotic, taking a step away from the modern conventions of technical death metal into a place where each riff, each subsection, has much more room to breathe. In all, I like it. It might be just a touch less exciting than Ob(Servant) overall, but it’s certainly no less valid an approach, and should hopefully see a growth in the band’s fan base, as it is mildly more accessible. Don’t be fooled into thinking Psycroptic have lost any of their aggression, though, as even though the riffs aren’t packed quite as tightly at times, there are still roughly a million of them, and they flow quite effortlessly.
The Inherited Repression is the sound of an established band experimenting a bit to find the pace and density that suits them best, and the relaxed precision with which they summon these whirlwinds is indicative that they may have found it. This feels like a new plateau for these Aussies, and it’s both gratifying and inspiring to hear Psycroptic growing into themselves, firmly establishing a moonbase for their unique spirals of alien notation. The Inherited Repression is a strong, inventive grower of an album, definitely their most mature work and a strong contender in the 2012 tech death arena, though still somewhere below immortality. However, given the new level of comfort the band seem to have gained in their writing and abilities, I have a feeling that the next time around they’re going to knock us flat fucking out.
-Left Hand of Dog
Where to begin with this album? Psycroptic have blown away the competition for the first month of music with the new album The Inherited Repression. The amount of different playing styles exhibited in the very first song “Carriers Of The Plague” really sets your hopes up to a very high par. With the opening riff being enough to send goosebumps on your arm, you know you’re in for a rough (in the best way possible) ride.
Technical death metal hasn’t sounded this good in a real long time. Chock full of original riffs and plenty of shredding, “Carriers Of The Plague” also showcases the very impressive drumwork of Dave Haley that is reminiscent of Inferno's drumming with the band Behemoth on the album Demigod, but with a more structured approach and more progressive elements as well. When they go into unrelenting blast beat drumming, to backing up the guitars while they play the awesome progressive/death metal hybrid style, this song has everything. Literally, if they continued on this song for the full forty one minutes, it would please even the most hardcore metal listeners. Lucky for you, they mix it up and deliver something amazing.
The technicality is fully unleashed with the song “Forward To Submission.” The drums, after giving a slow but heavy intro, goes into Chuck Liddell-pummeling mode with intense, fast tempo drumming that would make Hellhammer blush. The guitars, at first, is backing up the drums and only doing a moderate effort of technical riffs, but then they kick into gear, only to trade back and forth between technical riffs and metal that is a lot like Matt Heafy’s (Trivium) playing style.
Continuing with the trade-off between technical death metal and more traditional metal playing, “The Throne Of Kings” will appeal to those who aren’t moved by flashy guitar and drums. While it still has the awesome riffs and intense drums, it’s just toned down to a more easily digestible level. It also has a slight groove to it that the other reviewed tracks were slightly lacking in. Think of it as a more technical version of Fear Factory.
The first great metal release of the year is here metalheads. This will either make or break them, and if they break then this album will be remembered as one of the most underrated albums of all time. Metal history was made today. Reading through the review, you can learn that there are a lot of different bases they touch upon, yet still retaining the technical/death/progressive metal that they tend to be labeled as.
My perspective has been that Psycroptic have only ever written two albums which have granted them the reputation they maintain. To any death metal fan who has been following this virtuous quartet, you'll recognize that even though their dexterity, song writing and production has increased, become faster and rawer, there was always that missing component since Chalky left the band - a vocalist who is literally unmatched in the death metal/black metal/ thrash metal arena.
For the two albums proceeding Psycroptic's debut and their masterpiece, "The Sceptor of the Ancients" - we had to deal with a vocalist who could neither imitate or refine his own abilities. Peppiatt is of course a very talented vocalist, yet talent in and of itself is not a prerequisite for success. Sure, he does somewhat manage to blend in, and Psycroptics latest two albums, "(Ob)Servant" and "Symbols of Failure" do impress musically, but with Peppiatt in the mix, the reviews where never going to be that high.
This however, is the album that should have come third. On "The Inherited Repression", we now see a band which is willing to diversify its sound, experiment and as we've become accustomed, impress us with their mix of highly dextrous, unparalleled musicianship and song writing while even delivering admirably original and melodious vocals. This is an album which will once again bring back Psycroptic fans to pick up a record and listen to it from beginning to end.
The guitar is undeniably creative, tactical and well placed throughout the whole record. The stringed half of the Haley brothers has managed to come up with some quite entertaining, sometimes brutal - always catchy riffing. His skills are of course the envy of most guitar players, as his grandiose mixture of palm mute, chicken and tremolo picking have only been refined over the course of so many years. One does wish he did play solos, even the occasional one, yet it seems Mr. Haley has no interest in such.
Drums are actually, somewhat of a letdown. Yes, David Haley is extremely talented, fast drummer. Yet one wishes he would take the next step and begin incorporating some musically complex rhythms, perhaps some progressive beats even to complement the outrageous guitar skills of his brother. Naturally, the blast beats and incessant fills are pleasant to hear. Bass is not granted much of a review because, and this does take a few points off the album, Grant is almost inaudible most of the team, and when he is not, he's usually doing nothing extraordinary.
Overall, this album gets very high marks for genuine ingeniousness, they've managed to exceed all expectations as a band, which is quite rare for a group of musicians in a very purist, underground (or used to be) segment of the heavy metal scene. By all means, this is an impressive concoction of musicianship, technicality and provides for an unbelievable listen the more one delves into it.
Before you read anything, know that this is the first Psycroptic album I've thoroughly listened to, and that technical death metal isn't my favorite sub-sub-genre. With that said, I think that Psycroptic's recent offering is some of the best technical death metal I've ever listened to, even though that doesn't say much. Catchy hooks, fast-paced drumming and diverse and melodic riffs, that together, still manage to craft a formidable beast. From what I understand, most people prefer the first vocalist over this one, but I don't know how he sounds, so I'm assuming he was amazing, since this vocalist is brutal and apt in his deliverance. Jason Peppiatt is as good as almost any other death metal vocalist out there, and probably even better. Nevertheless, he does have some weak moments, but they're quite rare anyway.
"The Inherited Repression" is a somewhat groovier and thrashier album than what I've expected when I got it. The guitars are pretty clear and thus allow lucidity and fidelity when they shred into a squall of notes, and the clarity shines in songs like "Carriers of the Plague," where a technical riff in the first minute bursts out and portends what the next forty minutes will be like, a groovy fest of technical riffs with some breakdowns here and there that do nothing but actually augment and enhance the style Psycroptic aims here for. The bass here is audible and doesn't just follow the guitars like a a stray dog you've just fed, but definitely glues everything together in elaborate and complex sections on most of the tracks. The drumming here truly portrays the drummer's skills, with fast and heavy rhythms, with small things that tint it like some occasional cymbals, and notes that are more felt than heard. What definitely shines in the limelight is the sweeping melodies that from time to time break into harmonic flurries. It's never too much; Psycroptic doesn't overload with anything but manages to adjust everything in exactly the right moments, without being too technical, groovy, melodic, and so forth. They perfectly combine everything. The weakest part on the ablum is definitely the vocals. While they undoubtedly fit with the music and are great in their deliverance, they're not very unique, and sometimes they feel like they try to mimic other technical death vocalists. Nevertheless, they do their job right.
To sum this album up, this album is probably the best technical death album I've heard up to now, which doesn't say much because I'm not a big fan of it, but it still manages to be great. It's good at its worst, and it's amazing at its best. These components together craft a true technical death metal, that isn't just about being technical as fuck with no memorability, catchiness, and whatnot, but an album you can headbang to.
Album number five from Tasmania's technical death metal extraordinaire Psycroptic. I had only ever gave Psycroptic a passing interest up until the release of The Inherited Repression, the widely lauded The Scepter of the Ancients failed to register and the other material was good if indistinctive. Strangely here on The Inherited Repression the band have made me bolt up and take notice.
Now, technical death metal is a genre I have a bizarre relationship with, and outside of acts such as Gorod, Anata and Arsis I don't have a massive interest. Too much Necrophagist worship really gets me miffed, and I was pleased to see Psycroptic steer clear. In fact, I've found Psycroptic to be a bit of an anomaly as far as their riff style goes. It has a real bouncy and loose feel, which really sets them apart, and although I know I've heard riffs of this ilk before, I just can't place where. Still, Psycroptic fully embrace the riffing style and every track is full of fluid, gyrating guitar patterns that are really effective. The drums are a standard, clinical affair, but considering the genre I don't mind. Lots of blasting and double bass pedal work. The bass isn't as audible as I would want, and as far as I can gather it follows the guitar instead of breaking free, which is a slight shame.
The vocals are what lets Psycroptic down, they take the tough guy shouting style although since so many bands are utilizing this style now I can let it slide to a certain extent, especially considering how interesting the guitar work is. Another slight downside is that there are a few almost slam riffs to be found in the first half of the album, couple this with the tough guy vocals and things get a little awry. Fortunately there are minimal cases of this, but still it isn't exactly what I want to hear.
Once the album hits "The Throne of Kings" Psycroptic really buck up and prove their worth, and I think technical death metal fans are really going to enjoy this album. This is certainly interesting, and boasts enough in the way of cool ideas and unique riffing style to keep these afloat with the genre's titans. Fans of Gorod, Odious Mortem and Origin are going to want to get their hands on this shit pronto.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
I've been following the Tasmanian death metal crew, Psycroptic, for quite some time now. The band replaced original vocalist, Matthew "Chalky" Chalk, with newcomer Jason Peppiatt in 2005 and then committed an even broader stylistic shift in 2008 with the album, Ob(Servant). The music itself lost some of its former brutality, but the most noticeable difference was the change brought on by Peppiatt's vocals. While he still used a guttural vocal style, he also utilized a strained hardcore shout that rubbed many fans the wrong way. The vocals weren't all bad, but Peppiatt's performance tended to make him come off as a little green. Would Psycroptic be able to recover from this misstep? What path would the band take?
Psycroptic has returned with its new album, The Inherited Repression, and it is almost like another reboot for the band. While The Inherited Repression does have some ties to the sound on Ob(Servant), there are more differences than similarities. The new album as a whole feels more "organic and clean." The guttural vocals are now completely non-existent. The annoying, strained mid-range hardcore voice is gone too. Peppiatt has chosen to replace these styles with a single hardcore yell that fits quite well with the new organic feel of Psycroptic. While it still isn't my favorite vocal style, it's miles beyond anything he was doing in the past. Peppiatt has definitely matured as a vocalist. The guitars further the organic feeling through their tone. The guitars are distorted, but compared to the Pyscroptic of old, the guitar tone is practically clean. This allows for tons of clarity and adds an extra sense of precision when the riffs burst into a flurry of tangled notes. The album is loaded with blurs of scalar runs. These busy guitar licks especially shine in "Carriers of the Plague" and "Euphorinasia." The clean tone also helps arpeggiated chords and ringing notes sound distinct and crisp. (See "Carriers of the Plague" and "Forward to Submission" respectively.) The guitars also include some dark acoustic work ("Euphorinasia" and "Deprivation") and some sweet bendy riffs ("Carriers of the Plague," Unmasking the Traitors," and "From Scribe to Ashes"). There are no true guitar solos, but the busy licks that make up the riffs are more than a fair substitute. The bass guitar also helps contribute to the natural feeling with a warm, full tone. However, the bass doesn't call much attention to itself aside from a brief moment in "Unmasking the Traitors." The drums are the final piece of the puzzle in the warm sound of The Inherited Repression. In fact, the drums keep the whole band grounded throughout a multitude of rhythm, tempo, and time shifts. Like the other instruments, the drums bring a human feel to the album through their tone. The toms sound full and warm when they are rolling along in songs like "Euphorinasia" and "Become the Cult." The bass drums sound less "clicky" and more "real" than on past Psycroptic releases too. The new, more human feel of The Inherited Repression doesn't quite sound like any other band, and that's a major accomplishment in itself. Luckily, these songs are extremely memorable to boot. Hell, they're downright infectious. Initially, I approached The Inherited Repression with caution and doubt, but I have come away convinced that it ranks with Psycroptic's best work.
The Inherited Repression is definitely a pleasant surprise. While it's not exactly what this long-time fan would wish for from the band, I can't really complain either. The band isn't going to go back to the "classic" sound. We have to accept that. Psycroptic is still growing and changing. What matters most is that the band is back on track making good music. And that's fine by me.
Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com
Australia’s Psycroptic are an interesting bunch. Their sophomore album, Scepter of the Ancients, is one of the most unique and well-made tech death albums of all time. On top of that, there’s quite a bit of division among fans of the band between original vocalist Chalky, who had a frantic delivery and a huge range of (often weird) sounds, whereas their new vocalist Jason Peppiatt is more consistent but less varied. Personally, I am a fan of both in their respective songs, because most people realize that old and new Psycroptic are very different animals. Their previous album, 2008′s (Ob)Servant, borders on groove-death metal at times, even though it holds on to the techy aspect that defines the band. The Inherited Repression, for better or for worse, is a continuation of the sound on the previous record. This is not to say it’s not technical, but it’s not as hyperactive as the first few albums of the band. This is a good thing in a way, because the songs flow better, but some might take it as a drawback. Even then, it’s still more energetic than most of (Ob)Servant. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take an actual look at the album, shall we?
Psycroptic are probably the band whose songwriting I’ve dissected the most, because they are my biggest influence when it comes to making my own music. This is because Joe Haley is one of the most original guitar players out there, and this definitely shows in Psycroptic. While there might not be laser fast sweeps or crazy solos on this album, the stuff he pulls off (guitar pun intended) is much more difficult than those, but people who don’t have an understanding of guitar are unlikely to recognize this. Unlike most other technical albums, this isn’t a strike against the album though. Whereas many bands build their foundation on technicality, Psycroptic elegantly integrate it into the melting pot of their sound. When you get down to the basics, this album is full of very tight riffs that make you want to bang your head. And it sounds unlike any other band.
The Haley brothers clearly have their specific sound, but The Inherited Repression doesn’t sound stale at all, because they constantly experiment with their sound and every riff is a new curveball. The production is very similar to (Ob)Servant, which means everything but the bass is very clearly audible and easy to pick out. It’s true that Jason Peppiatt has only two voices and his lack of variety is kind of frustrating at times, but I’m very certain that Chalky wouldn’t have done better with these songs, even though I love his work. These songs are simply written to work with Jason’s voice. Non-believers should listen to ‘Euphorinasia’, which I heard live 2 years ago and didn’t really like, because the singer was a fill-in for Jason. Now that I get to hear the album version with Jason’s actual vocals, it sounds absolutely beastly and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s probably among Psycroptic’s slowest tracks, but there are still sudden explosions of notes that should clear the minds of doubters.
Earlier, I said that this album feels like a continuation of (Ob)Servant. Let me explain; (Ob)Servant felt like the Haley brothers were wearing the wrong shoes at times. It’s clear that they wanted to be more groovy, but they went overboard with the groove and they weren’t really feeling the technical aspects as much as they did in the older albums and had no idea how to interact with Jason. The Inherited Repression solves all these problems; nothing feels like filler and every part flows perfectly. Jason feels like he’s been there all along, and this album is basically what (Ob)Servant should have been. ‘Become the Cult’ is the down low, groovy song that they couldn’t really pull of before. ‘The Throne of Kings‘ does weird things with the guitar that also fit in with the song. It feels like they lose track around ‘From Scribe To Ashes’, but they come back in full form in ‘Deprivation‘, which feels like a better ‘Initiate‘.
Overall, this album is a strictly better (Ob)Servant, which is not as bit a leap as previous Psycroptic albums, but it’s clear that the band are settling down with the sound that they want to achieve. The guitar work is as mindblowing as ever, and there’s lots of neck-breaking moments thrown between them, which was a bit lacking in their older releases. ‘The Sleepers Have Awoken’ is probably the best song of the Peppiatt-era Psycroptic, and most other songs are way better than any other song they’ve written with Peppiatt. This album is a significant step up from their previous 2 releases, and is definitely a must-get for death metal fans. It’s a bit slower than most death metal, but it makes up for the lack of speed in BPM by having really fast and tight guitars that play the most original riffs I’ve heard since Scepters of the Ancients, and if you’re a Chalky fan there’s a slight chance this may convert you. Either way, it’s their best album since Chalky left. An amazing way to start the new year.
Original written by www.heavyblogisheavy.com/