Psycroptic
As The Kingdom Drowns


4.0
excellent

Review

by TheNotrap USER (23 Reviews)
July 8th, 2019 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Joe Haley and the Psycroptics

Last decade was the most prolific period for technical death metal, bands such as Decapitated, Gorod, Necrophagist, Obscura, among many others, took over record stores and stages all over the world. This fully armed force intended to take what Death or Atheist started to another new technical level. One of the bands that stood out the most from the tech pack were the Tasmanians Psycroptic. Their sound was mainly characterized by Joe Haley's complex riffs and Chalky's quite distinctive cookie monster vocals. Their first albums are seen as references to the genre, especially The Scepter of the Ancients, which is considered by many to be one of the best technical death metal albums of the past decade.

Their more core-ish approach on latest releases, namely on vocals, hasn't been well accepted by many older fans, who see this metamorphosis as a betrayal of the band's early style. Not surprisingly, their latest albums The Inherited Repression, which I particularly like, and self-titled release, had a mixed reception from the fan base.

For my part, I waited for As The Kingdom Drowns with an open mind, hoping it would bring good riffs and some high quality tech. I didn't expect The Scepter of the Ancients Part II or The Inherited Repression 2.0, just a good slab of Aussie tech, nothing more.

It didn't take long to realize Joe Haley would be the center of gravity. "We Were the Keepers" starts at warp speed, with an absolutely killer riff, destroying everything in its path. The album couldn't get off to a better start. In addition to the inspired rhythm guitar, the opener has a super catchy chorus, with female backing vocals, that adds a nice aura to the song. "Frozen Gaze" doesn't slow down, keeping the same rhythmic quality, in which I would highlight the cohesion between the Haley brothers, that seems stronger than ever. The next song, "Directive" calms things down a bit, allowing us to get some air, but once again, Joe's rhythmic work is admirable, namely the mid-paced dynamics, which are far above average. But Joe's talent transcends rhythm, as is proven in "Deadlands", which features a pleasant Alex Skolnick-esque (The Ritual period) solo. Title track and "Beyond the Black" build a bridge with "We Were the Keepers", again using Amy Wiles' backing vocals, which suggests the three songs may have been composed at the same time, thus forming the structural axis of As the Kingdom Drowns. "Beyond the Black", with its engaging chorus, is one of the album's highlights.

It doesn't seem fair to focus only on Joe's performance, when his brother David has an equally important role, as we can hear in "Upon These Stones", where he has room to shine, in absolute symbiosis with his brother. This symbiotic relationship is manifested, in all its strength, in "Momentum of the Void", through its infectious groove that swings in perfect synchronism. The album ends with "You Belong Here, Below" which, although not a bad song by any means, doesn't seem to me the best choice to close As the Kingdom Drowns. I would have preferred quality over quantity, ending with "Momentum of the Void". I feel the album would benefit from this cutback.

In conclusion, As the Kingdom Drowns is a product of artistic maturity, meticulously shaped by synergy and skill. The end result of a cohesive effort, orbiting around the talent of one of the best rhythm guitarists of his generation. This is Joe Haley's album, and yes, my tech friends, Joe Haley and the Psycroptics have released their best album of the decade.



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user ratings (91)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
July 8th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I thought these riffs needed a review.



For those who haven't heard the album yet:

https://psycroptic.bandcamp.com/album/as-the-kingdom-drowns

Digging: Disentomb - The Decaying Light

mindleviticus
July 8th 2019


9805 Comments


I don't know if this is much better than The Inherited Repression but it's certainly pretty damn good. I thought the self titled was okay so it's nice to see this outdo that by a lot. Their vocals are still the hardest thing for me to get into and their riffs just go a mile a minute technically but it's almost like a nice homage to Necrophagist so I enjoyed it. Also Mariusz Lewandowski is a god. Great review m///

Nerdurosis
July 8th 2019


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review. I was just listening to this the other day, actually. Excellent band overall

Nerdurosis
July 8th 2019


142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thankfully the music makes up for those unappetizing core vocals

TheNotrap
July 8th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@mindleviticus

I like The Inherited Repression, but this one seems more interesting to me, namely in the riff department. I think Joe's rhythmic work is closer to guitarists like Vogg or Mathieu Pascal than Muhammed.

I didn't know the artist who made this artwork, good call ;)



The vocals aren't the highlight, but they don't bother me either, Nerdurosis.

bloc
July 8th 2019


56334 Comments


This is probably their best album tbh

Digging: UNKLE - Psyence Fiction

TheNotrap
July 9th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's also my favorite at the moment, but I think most of the guys still prefer The Scepter of the Ancients. Scepter came out at the right time, during the tech death explosion of the past decade.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2019


15409 Comments


Loving the level of reviewing activity notrap. This is a great review

Digging: Torche - Admission

TheNotrap
July 9th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks a lot Dr. ;)



I've been having a great time reviewing, I think I'll keep going.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2019


15409 Comments


Yeah definitely man, I’m enjoying it a lot

Itsonlyme
July 10th 2019


111 Comments


Another good review TheNotrap, congrats! very nice brooding spooky cover illustration also. I will give these guys a try although the description of the vocals kind of scares me...(cover art by Mariusz Lewandowski by the way)

TheNotrap
July 10th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks Itsonlyme!



Yeah, mindleviticus has already mentioned it. I didn't know Mariusz Lewandowski, but it seems he must be famous in some circles, since many people recognize his work.



The vocals are core-ish, similar to Piotrowski (Decapitated) or Nutz (Gorod). If you don't like these singers, you shouldn't like Jason Peppiatt's vocal approach.





DDDeftoneDDD
July 11th 2019


5806 Comments


"hasn't been well accepted by many older fans, who see this metamorphosis as a betrayal of the band's early style" sounds like a dick on oldminded folks. Massive POS...I'm intrigued to check this one out.
Man, you're making 1 rev per week or something?


Digging: Bizu Coolective - Talkback

TheNotrap
July 11th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hahah it's a plausible interpretation D.

It's good tech, you should like it.



Yeah, I've been reviewing more lately. In fact, I'm finishing another one right now ;)

DDDeftoneDDD
July 11th 2019


5806 Comments


ooon fiiiire! I hope you mean the Vader&Sith worship one ahah


DDDeftoneDDD
July 11th 2019


5806 Comments


I like this soundoff - "Best Tech Death album since Archspire's last album"
Definitely on the digs to check.

TheNotrap
July 11th 2019


11369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hahaha nope, it won't be your kind of thing ;)



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