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Psychotic Gardening - "Hymnosis" (CD)

Psychotic Gardening - "Hymnosis" CD cover image

"Hymnosis" track listing:

1. Origin of The Infection (4:23)
2. Defile (4:21)
3. Re-Hybridized Strain (3:50)
4. Mindfold (4:22)
5. Genome Degradation (4:33)
6. Searing Cital (5:34)
7. Garden Raiding (3:18)
8. Open Casket (Death Cover) (7:23)
9. Journey to the Sun (3:41)

Reviewed by on May 9, 2014

"Pegging down Psychotic Gardening's specific sound is like trying to a hit moving target, because each song really takes a different sub-genre cue, only held together by the recurring blackened death vocals."

With a name like Psychotic Gardening it's not entirely clear what sort of music you're going to get: some sort of high concept, jazzy prog metal excursion? A weird avant-garde metal monstrosity? A grindcore band that wanted a joke name? As it turns out, the name doesn't mean much in this case, as those are all way off the mark.

Pegging down Psychotic Gardening's specific sound is like trying to a hit moving target, because each song takes a different sub-genre cue, only held together by the recurring blackened death vocals. The harsh vocals have a layered feel, like multiple demonic screams echoing out of the pit together as one. They are guttural to be sure, but at the same time it feels like it's lacking a bit in the power department, as though there could be more more emotion behind the screaming.

Any given track on “Hymnosis” might consist of chugging, booming death metal like “Origin of the Infection,” or it might instead be slow-moving doom like on “Re-Hybridized Strain” and “Searing Cital” (the former being a tight little doom number and latter unfortunately getting repetitive as it lethargically limps along towards the finish line five and a half minutes later.)

Further muddying the waters, there's the traditional metal and hard rock feel in the guitar tones of “Genome Degradation,” the faster paced and brutal “Mindfold,” and a cover of Death's “Open Casket” that ends up a good three minutes longer than the original track. Finishing off the album is “Journey To The Sun,” which is much more atmospheric with Gothic clean vocals. Frankly this track sounds like it came from a totally different band, although its not an unwelcome change of pace.

From random thrash licks to chanted vocals, there's influence from just about every style of metal to be found on “Hymnosis,” although it's frequently bent towards the death and doom side. Although it bounces across the musical scale and isn't always perfect, the album grows on you if you give it time, and its worth hearing for fans of death metal who don't mind trying out a few new directions.

Highs: There's a lot of unexpected sounds, and the Death cover is pretty killer.

Lows: Some of the doomier tracks get repetitive, and a few of the tracks feel out of place with the overall sound.

Bottom line: Death, doom, thrash, and more: Psychotic Gardening covers all the sub-genres on new album "Hymnosis."

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)