Review Summary: Get this.
What became of Psyopus since their debut release entitled "Ideas of Reference"? Many things. The first of which is that, due to drug problems or other such issues, the band shuffled through guitarists. This did not affect their skill as a group; but it certainly affected their own mentality of themselves as a band.
What their debut was lacking and ridiculed for was coherency. Although most math-metal albums (that's my label for it, you're free to differ) strive to prove that coherency is not a leading factor of all music, it limited their fan base and brought them a great deal of criticism. No band should be pushed around into changing their style by those that dislike them and Psyopus indicated that they weren't going to take the bashing to heart. Psyopus, however, seemed to have come to the conclusion somewhere along the way that their dissonant, unstructured style was not being viewed as an artistic statement and instead as immature. Rather than making a solid album they had made a statement which was duly noted, but still not well received musically.
The biggest change in the band? Structure. This album's structure lies riddled within a collage of insanity and rapid tempo changes; but there is obvious structure. Upon first listen (hell, upon the first dozen listens) listeners would undoubtedly be shaking their heads and sighing "did this band learn anything at all from the critics? The people buying or breaking their albums?" And indeed, as is the case with most good music in general, I was unmoved and unimpressed by this album. However, I am a diligent listener and take suggestions to heart. The leaked version of this album (the actual release was very recent but I heard it prior, I have since then bought the record) was and is the same as the record. There were no rough versions tracks. I had counted on it being a rough version; as my own method of explaining my perplexed view on the songs. I just didn't get it.
However, set aside the tempo changes and the technical guitar scales and you'll come to find that this album is a pristine growth from their former works. It is an album that exceeds most math-metal discs by leaps and bounds. Psyopus, somewhere in the shuffle of members and hate mail, found themselves.
The opening track, "The Pig Keeper's Daughter" does throw tempo out the window; but the difference this time around is that they revert back to their original melodies to show that they haven't forgotten, showing the listeners that any drastic changes in the songs are only detours, and that they do actually know where to insert their melodies. To a listener reluctant to hear the music to begin with, its hard to understand what their goal is. But as you put the pieces together (remembering that it takes more than one listen to decipher every noise in every song) you come to find that "The Pig Keeper's Daughter" gives way to the second song "2" and to the third song (my favourite) "Scissor *** Paper Doll" and into the fourth, "Whore Meet Liar," and so on; and throughout it all, each song showcases distinct structure (littered of course with noises reminiscent of birds chirping and carnies hooting and hollering in the background) and musical precision unmatched by most bands in the same genre.
The album delivers its share of insanity (with vocals vastly improved from their debut) be it by method of shrieking vocals or brief (a bit too brief just when you think it's getting good) breakdowns. And then, as if just to shove it in the face of skeptics, they have "Imogenis Pt.2" and "Siobhanis Song" which are two very poised instrumentals designed to showcase melody and orchestration.
Really, the album is superb. It's got structure, all the guitar scales you can eat (and bass scales which are marvelously fast and confusing as to how they're possible) and instrumentals to destroy any qualms a listener has about their skill and musical ability.
Pick it up; these records don't come often.