Four Tasmanian Devils Not Facing Extinction
Australian “technical death metal” band, Psycroptic, has decidedly veered more “technical” than “death” on their sixth studio release, Psycroptic. As is often the case when a band names a non-debut album after itself (see: Metallica, Voivod), it signifies a new direction for the artists. In this case, Psycroptic sees this Tasmanian four-piece experimenting with texture and melody, while not diminishing any of their previous aggressiveness, to a rewarding end.
The album opens with the “Echoes to Come,” as deliberately prescient in title as it is in music. A low rumbling, followed by some light strumming and tribal drumming, leading to Joe Haley’s expertly picked acoustic guitar riff, is followed by that same structure played at top volume and top speed. The next five minutes is a mix of rhythmic pounding and screaming with an undercurrent of majesty. The next track, “Ending,” features a wild and skillful riff mixed with dissonant Voivod-esque chords. “Cold” starts out with a beautiful and haunting acoustic guitar, again leading into that same piece replicated, heavily, demonstrating yet again that some of the best musicians in the world can be found in the realm of metal.
“Setting the World Ablaze” shows off relative newcomer Joseph Peppiatt’s shouting range – punishing, authoritative, slightly vulnerable. “Sentence of Immortality” is led by a single note strummed at lightning speed, and the effect leaves one’s chest a-pounding right along with co-founder Dave Haley’s drums.
Psycroptic has adopted a tasmanian devil, whom they named “Psycro,” in conjunction with their other efforts to raise awareness for the endangered marsupial. It also hints at a softer side to their personas. But like the animal itself, this music is more carnivorous and biting than it is cute and furry. Psycroptic ends with “Endless Wandering,” starting out loud and ending soft, creating a palindromic bookend effect for the album.