Psycroptic - Symbols of Failure - 2006 - Neurotic Records
1. Alpha Breed 2. Missionaries of a Future to Come 3. Merchants of Deceit 4. Minions: The Fallen 5. Repairing the Dimensional Cluster 6. Epoch of the Gods 7. Our Evolutionary Architecture 8. An Experiment in Transience 9. Cleansing a Misguided Path
The highly celebrated Technical Death prodigies of Tasmania return with a new album, ‘Symbols of Failure’, and a new vocalist, Jason Peppiatt. Internal difficulties led to the departure of longtime front man Matthew Chalk, whose multi-faceted pipes were the band’s foremost trademark, though his extremes were known to estrange some potential fans. Regardless, the expectations for new vocalist Jason Peppiatt were very high, and many were eager to see whether Psycroptic could turn in another work as distinctly sharp and staccato infused as their previous two, which are held in high cult esteem.
Psycroptic’s continued technical dominance is immediately obvious, from the opening of Alpha Breed straight through to the end, there is hardly a rest (either figuratively or instrumentally) to be found. The well-produced acrobatics of guitarist Joe Haley climb up and down the fret-board, laying out a continuous stream of riffs that shift and grow relentlessly; complimenting drummer David Haley (also a member of The Amenta) freely utilizes his kit’s more unique aspects to further complicate Psycroptic’s sound.
And, as for Jason Peppiatt, while he is certainly not a clone of Matthew Chalk, it is unlikely that any Chalk fans will have much to complain about. His voice is amorphous and strong in nearly every respect, from grunts and growls to screams and shrieks. Perhaps not quite as extreme as Chalk, but his ‘restraint’, if it can be called as such, makes focusing on the actual musicianship far easier.
As masterfully technical as ‘Symbols of Failure’ is, it eventually falls prey to brutal/technical death metal’s oldest foe: monotony. Were any single track to be isolated and played for a fan of the genre, it would no doubt impress and entice. Each member’s skill is undeniable, and there are indeed some quality cuts on this album, the first two tracks in particular. However, this is not a genre that lends itself to individuality, and once all strung together each track sounds rather like the next. Psycroptic is certainly original and identifiable within the technical death metal field, but within ‘Symbols of Failure’ discerning one song from another becomes rather difficult. Occasional efforts to ‘mix things up’ are made, such as the main harmonic riff of ‘Merchants of Deceit’ (more than faintly reminiscent of Necrophagist), but these small changes are not enough to make the songs individual entities.
Psycroptic, on ‘Symbols of Failure’, lay down the technical gauntlet in a very impressive manner, but their obvious instrumental mastery is not enough to carry an album, or a band, for very long. This is a strong effort, but some of their old originality and variety would be a welcome re-addition to their next album
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