Symbols Of Failure
is the third release from Australian Tech Death Metallers, Psycroptic. I must admit now, that before I first heard this album I was a little skeptical of how it would stand up the The Scepter Of The Ancients
. One of the things that most impressed me about TSoTA
was Matthew Chalks vocals. Unfortunately, he is no longer with Psycroptic, and I didn't know if the void he left could be filled.
My doubts were completely unfounded, and after 40 minutes they had been smashed into a million pieces. Jason Peppiatt does an excellent job as Matthew Chalks replacement. He manages to capture the essence of what Chalky has done, using a string of rapid fire burps, shrieks and screams, and the usual growls. He even makes use of inward growling on a couple of tracks, or so I'm told (for example, Alpha Breed
). So, although Peppo hasn't quite managed to achieve the brilliance that was Matthew Chalk, I'd go far enough to say that he is still more impressive than most Death Metal vocalists.
So, if the vocals aren't as good as they are on previous efforts, why the hell am I enjoying this album so much" Well, it's quite simple really. The Haley brothers have lifted their game to fill the void created after Chalky's departure. Dave's drumming is again flawless. His double kick is thunderous throughout Symbols Of Failure
, his snare is more prominent, sounding a little more hollow. Throw in his cymbal work, and the breath taking speeds he plays at you've got yourself one mighty impressive Drummer. This album is definately his best work, with Epoch Of The Gods
and Our Evolutionary Architecture
being great examples of that.
It should also be noted that Dave took over lyric writing duties for this album, although I have no idea what the subject matter is. He has however, stated in an interview they are all sci-fi based, and that they are quiet different from those seen on the first two albums. They also inspired the album art, for a further indication of what they may be about. However, like with all Death Metal, the lyrics shouldn't be the focus of the music.
Now here comes my biggest gripe with the album. Cameron Grant's bass is almost inaudible on the album, which is something that goes against what I would usually enjoy about Death Metal. It really should be louder, as it could be heard when I saw Psycroptic live, and it sounded great. I see no reason as to why it's so low in the mix, and it's one of those niggly things that annoys me about Symbols of Failure
. Although, in saying that, the quality of the album hasn't really been hurt in any way. It's not really a downfall, but more of a way that it could have been improved.
The lack of the low end certainly hasn't detracted from Joe Haley's amazing riffage on the guitar though. A first time listener could even be forgiven for thinking there are two guitarists, but I can assure you, there isnít. There's no layering of tracks either, as Joe insists upon being able to reproduce the sounds he creates on an album live, without backing tracks to help. Rarely is the same riff used on the album for more than a couple of plays through, so nothing becomes stale. I think he uses the opening riff of An Experiment In Transience
for 43 seconds, and that's the longest any 1 riff is heard on the album. It's all played in a manner that makes it hard to settle into any kind of groove as well, but when the opportunity arises, it's done brilliantly (Merchants Of Deceit
). Some might also see the lack of solos as a bad thing, but I can honestly say that they are not needed. The music is already exciting enough.
- Excellent Musicianship
- Memorable songs
- No repetitiveness
- Bass is almost inaudible
Overall, Psycroptic have done an awesome job putting Symbols Of Failure
together. The musicianship is impeccable, even if some of it is struggled to be heard. The frantic pace of the album can be a little overwhelming as well. It is more than likely that you will miss the transition from Alpha Breed
to Missionaries Of A Future To Come
if your not paying close attention to your first listen. In fact, Symbols Of Failure
is an album that really does require a close amount of attention when listening, if you are to enjoy it to it's full capacity. It's easy to get lost in the chaos. Otherwise, Symbols Of Failure
is one hell of an album that I can safely recommend to any fan of Technical Death Metal.