Psycroptic – Psycroptic (Prosthetic)Thursday, 5th March 2015
With all of the technical death metal available nowadays, there’s not really anyone who does it quite like Psycroptic. It’s been three years since the band has provided a new album, though it’s more or less par for their course with the length of time between releases. Psycroptic also sees the band on a new label in Prosthetic, from their previous home with Nuclear Blast.
Psycroptic have never been a band to release the same album twice. Instead, there is a clear evolution of the band through previous albums, and Psycroptic does little to change this. Certainly the tech death base is there and Joe Haley has his own distinct riffing style, but to merely label the band as such detracts a bit from their work and effort to diversify themselves. What seems to stick out the most is a stronger emphasis on groove, akin to the shifts that fellow death metallers Decapitated have followed. The difference here is that Psycroptic keeps their frenetic and crazed side quite active, even when they do move towards more groovy areas (see “Ideas That Won’t Surrender”).
Another area that has always helped Psycroptic is an emphasis on actual riffs. Many tech bands can noodle all over the place, but Psycroptic writes memorable riffs that also contain tons of technicality. “A World Discarded” and “Echoes to Come” both embrace this approach, capitalizing on a captivating blend of groove, technically charged riffs, and surprisingly catchy melodies. One of the album’s true highlights is “Cold,” which opens with some gentle acoustic guitar before going into a melodic onslaught that features a main riff that is destined to be stuck in your head for days. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the mostly blazing speed approach of “Setting the Skies Ablaze,” in which vocalist Jason Peppiatt fires out lyrics as quickly as the band churns out riffs. In fact, Peppiatt’s vocal approach has never gotten the credit it should have, and his shouted roars has also helped to separate Psycroptic from the pack. He’s able to provide a bit more diversity to his approach than the usual standard growl/gurgle, while providing just as much power.
Psycroptic is yet another example of why Psycroptic is one of the bands to beat in the extreme metal genre. Technical, groovy, and memorable all at the same time, their approach to songwriting has successfully put them into a league of their own. This is 2015’s first must-have tech metal release.