Psycroptic - Ob(Servant)
Nuclear Blast
Technical Death Metal
9 songs (49:47)
Release year: 2008
Psycroptic, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat

Reviewing music that drops the usual rules and regulations (you know, sounds good, catchy in the traditional manner, two guitars/one bass/one drummer/one vocalist, etc) in favour of striking out and doing its own thing is often pretty hard. Tasmanian Tech-Death crew Psycroptic have been doing their own thing for a good few years now, formed back in 1999 and releasing four albums to date of twisty, turny brutality. Any bunch of people that has side projects as interesting and varied as Ruins, The Amenta and Blood Duster must be worth listening to when they try their hand at Tech Death, and Psycroptic are that and more.

Despite only using one guitar on Ob(Servant) there’s more than enough technical mayhem to keep anyone happy. The music is driven by Joe Haley’s riffs and Jason Peppiatt’s varied yelps and bellows, and whilst the latter can occasionally grate (but is an acquired taste like most Metal vocalists) the former’s contributions are never less than excellent. It’s probably a good thing that there’s only one guitarist actually, as this amount of technical guitarplay doubled would probably be too much to deal with. Whatever your personal ideal of a good guitarist is, there’s a good chance that this man surpasses it. He’s all over the place, riffs, grooves and leads almost constant, all adding up to a great performance.

It’s a pity I can’t say the same for drummer David Haley. There are plenty of moments where his versatile battery shines through (Slaves Of Nil! Immortal Army Of One!) but it’s far more often that the guitar covers it, which is a shame. The production is relatively clear but not perfect, highlighting the guitars and pushing the drums to the back. They’re still audible, of course, but you only really notice them if you concentrate. Same story with the bass.

Few people, however, listen to Tech-Death for the bass, and all nine songs/constructs of amazing musicianship on show here will keep any fan of skilful music enthralled. Standout moments are frequent, but impossible to describe; the part halfway through Removing The Common Bond where the slow riff goes into a fast riff is the best I can do. Little moments like the ambient outro to that track and eight-minute finale Initiate give the album its curiously atmospheric punch, and for some reason the intro of Horde In Devolution reminds me of Alchemist. Australian bands do have a strangely individual yet indescribable style that marks them out as being different from their European and American cousins, and that style runs through Ob(Servant).

Ultimately, if you’re at all interested in Tech Death then you’ve probably heard a similar enough take on this before (and if you do count yourself as a Tech Deather you really should have heard of Psycroptic by now) yet Ob(servant) is very listenable and does enough new to make even devoted fans of the band sure to love this. A more than solid album, with enough to hold it above the competition.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Adam quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Psycroptic that we have reviewed:
Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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