Review Summary: An impressive debut, but not their best.
Psycroptic is a band that many lump into the category of generic technical death metal bands, and that is completely unjustified. As they have proved on their debut, they are entirely capable of making cohesive songs that are not simply made for the soul purpose of being technical like so many other bands in the genre. They prove this right away with their opening track, "Carnival of Vulgarity". The guitar riffs are extremely heavy, the bass is audible and impressive (check out the intro to "Psycroptipath") and the drumming (while being standard metal drumming) gets the job done just fine.
What truly separates this band from others is Michael Chalk. Others may think it would be a hyperbole to compare him to the likes of Lord Worm, but I seriously think that he is ALMOST as unique as him. Granted, Lord Worm is still a lot better, but in my opinion to even be mentioned in the same sentence is one of the greatest honors a death metal vocalist can have. His range is always unexpected and all over the place in a way that works perfectly with the intense music it is supporting. His high and mid vocals has a very interesting raspy quality to them and his guttural vocals are unlike any I've heard. It seriously sounds like there are several demons screaming into the same microphone.
The main downfall of this album for me is the production. I dig a raw production every now and then, but this is way too underproduced for the material they are presenting. Though this isn't overly technical, as I have mentioned before, it is still technical enough that the instruments deserve to be heard with more clarity. Thankfully, this is a problem they immediately mend in their following release, "The Scepter of the Ancients." My other complaints on this album is that there are random sections that simply don't fit with the music, such as the end of "Psycroptipath" or the clean vocal chants on "Labyrinth". Since this is a debut album, this is understandable. The band mostly sure of themselves, while still trying to find their niche. There are no glaringly mediocre tracks on the album. Each track seamlessly blends into the next one.
This is an impressive debut, but definitely nowhere near the best in the genre. It is a solid introduction to the band's unique approach to technical death metal, yet still flawed. If you are looking for the best in the band's discography, I'd recommend "Scepter of the Ancients".
Recommended Tracks: "Carnival of Vulgarity", "Condemned By Discontent", "Psycroptipath"