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Ob(Servant) - 70%

tominous, October 19th, 2008

Much like death metal gods Nile, a change of label onto German based merchandise machine Nuclear Blast signals a change of the winds that lift the sails of Psycroptic. A path has been cleared to a wider audience and the pressure of morphing into a more accessible sound could play a part in the evolution process.

Psycroptic fans across the world will be holding The Isle of Disenchantment(2001) and The Sceptre of the Ancients (2003) as benchmarks for comparison, and must be hoping the Australian’s fourth full length album (Ob)Servant will uphold the quality of these two killer releases.

Like a greyhound out the gates, the title track will mug you and be gone again in a flash, but on the whole the balance between break down and break neck is apt. The groove seems to be from Pantera/Southern style riffs in certain places instead of the laid down beats from before.

The glory of Psycroptic and their incandescent technicality is that it all operated on one level and is a whole output, unlike some bands who may have blistering speed and finger work but over-complicate things and miss the “impact” button on their way. Ob(Servant) avoids this throughout. On the flip side some have condemned Psycroptic’s music as directionless and hence ultimately not rewarding, and this does stand true to some extent on this latest release.

Replacing what would normally be a clever eye-popping twist with a bit of basic hardcore and having bland vocals that sound like Peter Dolving instead of the pick and mix grows and gurgles may be steps towards musical maturity, but fails to excite and are largely disappointing.

Ob(Servant) will not alienate too many fans and will definitely make some new ones. If the next release is a firecracker the name of Psycroptic can safely take its place in the hall of death metal fame.