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Psycroptic
Ob(servant)

Company: Nuclear Blast
Release: 2008
Reviewer: Raising Iron
Genre: Death

  • By no means have they reached their potential



  • Psycroptic have returned with their fourth outing, Ob(servant), and for the first time, they find themselves on the reputable Nuclear Blast label. Hailing from New Zealand, these guys play technical death metal, bringing to mind the likes of Meshuggah or Martyr. I've not heard their previous outing, Symbol of Failure, but do own their second release, Sceptre of the Ancients, and that's where my comparisons lie.

    After several listens, there are a number of things problematic here, many relating to the production. Things are just too crisp and clean this time, which isn't bad, but it takes a bit away from the brutality of the music. Second, the drums are mixed too much to the fore, and they've been compressed too tightly. Now, I understand, with the speed at which these guys play you better use a healthy dose of compression to keep things from sounding like complete mush, but this is excessive, the result being too mechanical. Also, the guitars are a little too thin. This is death metal after all, and while you don't have to have a "fat" guitar tone ala the early Sunlight Studio sound, it should have more beef to it than found here. The current vocalist isn't bad, but often his delivery reminds one too much of metalcore, and not death metal. Lastly, after a dozen listens, I'm remembering only a small handful of riffs, movements, lyrics, etc. The compositions are just too generic.

    Now, lest ye think Psycroptic have completely blown it with this release, let's look at some positives. The riffing, as unmemorable as it may be at times, is unbelievable. Guitarist Joe Haley presents stacks upon stacks of swirling, manic speedsters, proving he's no fluke in the talent department, reminding one of the same complaints levied against half a million prog metal bands out there. Hell, he may even be studying Jeff Loomis in detail, as his approach is heavily reminiscent of that Nevermore wiz. The drums are insanely fast and locked down tight, I imagine drummer David Haley being hooked up to a saline injection while playing live to keep from keeling over!

    So, while being on a major metal label will no doubt garner much needed exposure, these guys really need to find a bit more imagination in the writing department. The talent is there, but right now they've all but left death metal behind, and they haven't expanded upon the compositional approach while doing so. Overall, a decent work, but by no means have they reached their potential.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: PSYCROPTIC
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Ob(servant)Psycroptic
    2008
    Etiam2/9/2009
    Ob(servant)Psycroptic
    2008
    Raising Iron11/14/2008
    Symbols of FailurePsycroptic
    2006
    Etiam10/13/2006


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: PSYCROPTIC

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: PSYCROPTIC
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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