Many people, when they think of PsyOpus, will go on and on about how extreme and musically talented they are. I've often heard things like, "Total mindfu
ck", "incredible musicians", and "best album of 2004". This band has one obvious goal: to be the most unmatchably technical band on the planet. I won't go so far to say that they've achieved that, but they're incredibly technical, nonetheless. I also suppose that this band is a good representation of what extreme music has become over the years. Let me quickly set a scenerio for you: I love extreme music as much as the next guy. I love brutal and technical bands like Necrophagist and Wormed, tr00, raw black metal like old Darkthrone and 1349, and sometimes even odd bands that fuse genres like the Red Chord and Between the Buried and Me. But the bottom line is, this band goes to far. In their search to be technical these guys have forgotten one simple rule of music: it's supposed to sound good as well. This record is the most incoherent collection of playing I've ever heard.
This band's sole purpose is obviously technicality. These guys know their instruments, no question. You couldn't find a more explosive guitarist than Chris Arp, who I'm sure in time will get more than his fair share of recognition. His riffs are lead-driven but tied in with breakdowns, occasional clean and acoustic breaks, and even a groove part here and there. But for the most part, PsyOpus's music is built around the completely random shredding of Arp. And when I say random, I mean random. Although I'm sure DeCoste is talented tech bassist, his bass doesn't come through so well on the record. It's obvious the guitar is priority. Herman, on the other hand, couldn't stand out any better. This guy is one hell of a drummer. He doesn't stick to lightning-fast blast beats or double bass. He mixes things up with various fills and rolls. The drumming is as unpredictable as anything else in the music. When you finally top off the music with the vocals of Adam Frapolli, who sounds like he has his scortum caught in a vice, you have a sure-fire setup for one of the most exteme bands on the planet. If you're looking for pure insanity, they don't disappoint.
Here's where they lose me: the music. If that sounds like a broad and drastic point, then maybe you'll understand why I dislike this band. As I said before, melody is non-existent. I also mentioned randomness, which I can't stress enough. Variation is a good thing to have in music - but when it sounds like you had 20,000 riffs with not a single thing in common and throw them together in one song, it sounds like total trash. But then again, thanks to PsyOpus, we know you can still make a career out of that. Rhythms are also honed to a fine point, but near impossible to follow throughout the record. I never knew what the hell was going to happen next, and that frustrated me. I like music I can follow, not a sheer wall of noise that seems to have talent.
I'll say this again - I love extreme grind, brutal death metal, raw black metal, and technical music. But when you incompetently roll it all into one 50 minute CD you get something that sounds like a carnaval being ran through a meat grinder. Here and there there may be a decent headbangable flowing section. Halfway through, Mirrorrim
has a nice lead guitar riff that sounded almost power metal. Anomaly
had a unique guitar/bass dual that was intriguing to say the least. For 15 minutes, Bones to Dust
had some good stuff strewn about, but just sounded like everything else on the album. But all in all, these guys just take it too far. This is just a wall of noise created by instruments that were intended for music. That noise may sound like actual grind or metal at times, such as the majority of Mannequin
, but how long can they really keep up this exterme image?
If you hate bands that sound the same with every song, avoid PsyOpus like a fu
cking plague. Wait - did I say it all sounded the same? I meant it all sounded different. Actually, no...it was all the same. It's all the same, but very diferent. The problem is, no two seconds of one song sounds like the few seconds before it. There is no structure, no consistent forumla or sound. They change keys and time signatures every twenty seconds. When you listen to the record all at once, it all sounds so out of place that every song sounds as randomly thrown together with no thought as the last. The only reassurance that each member wasn't ad-libbing it in the studio spontaniously is the occasional breakdown, in which they all suddenly play together, in time, with a defined sound. Which, oddly enough, sounds out of place when you put it against the rest of the crap which has been mislabled as music.
To sum up, this record is such an obvious attempt to stand out against all the ridiculous tech/brutal bands out there that they just blend right in with the rest of them. Amidst all the extreme music I listen to, I felt the need to draw a line somewhere. These guys showed me right where to put it. Music is one thing - PsyOpus is another. Generating a wall of noise and calling it music doesn't merit any respect in my book, and it's a shame that so many people disagree and choose shock value over listenability.
- So random it sounds like a wall of noise.
- No melody, no structure, nothing resembling a solo.
- Technical - very technical.
- CD makes an excellent frisbee.
- Bones to Dust