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Psyopus - "Odd Senses" (CD)

Psyopus - "Odd Senses" CD cover image

"Odd Senses" track listing:

1. 44 (0:53)
2. Medusa (3:30)
3. The Burning Halo (3:59)
4. Duct Tape Smile (3:33)
5. X And Y (3:42)
6. Boogeyman (5:34)
7. Imogen's Puzzle Pt 3 (1:59)
8. Choker Chain (2:49)
9. Ms. Shyflower (6:13)
10. A Murder To Child (9:15)
11. Untitled (20:34)

Reviewed by on May 18, 2009

"For the minority who appreciate thought-provoking music that has more under the surface than meets the eye, 'Odd Senses' will be a revelation in disguise."

For those unaware, Psyopus plays mathcore/technical death metal that is about as technical as the genre can get. The draw in Psyopus’ music is the four musicians involved who are highly skilled at what they play and aren’t afraid to show off, with or without consequences. That’s why “Odd Senses” is an album you either will or won’t get; the equivalence of either a creative and surprisingly catchy display of pure genius or a cauldron of shit bubbling with endless guitar wanking and lacking any semblance of direction.

“Odd Senses” is not an album that will click immediately. Psyopus’ third album is as confusing, obtuse, and unconventional as their last two albums. For a little over an hour, there are moments of sheer brilliance, where it looks like Psyopus could be the future of metal, and then there are puzzling songwriting choices that come off amateurish in their execution. This back-and-forth struggle is what makes “Odd Senses” such an enigma, one that many metal fans will be unwilling to put together.

For the minority who appreciate thought-provoking music that has more under the surface than meets the eye, “Odd Senses” will be a revelation in disguise. While the line-up has been constantly revolving, with guitarist Chris Arp the only original member left, Psyopus sounds unified together in their goal of providing as much of a mind-fuck as humanly possible.

The first half of the album is straight-forward, at least as much as technical death metal can be. Unpredictable guitar work all over the fret board, shrieking vocals that sound like nails on a piece of steel, and drum patterns that would have the most experienced musicians scratching their heads are just the tip of the iceberg. “Duct Tape Smile” plays off our fascination with torture and “X and Y” is the touching story of a sex change gone haywire.

While samples are used sporadically in the early portions of “Odd Senses,” songs like “Boogeyman” and “Choker Chain” use them as building blocks to work off of. The former uses audio from about a dozen people spliced together to form jumbled sentences. This unique concept works the first couple of times, but after the eighth time it’s brought out, the listener will tire of it. Same goes for the latter; a female saying the same word over and over for 10-15 seconds is fine the first time, but when it happens within seconds of each other, it starts to get monotonous and grating.

Something not so grating is the nine-minute instrumental “A Murder To Child,” easily the highlight of "Odd Senses." Expanding off the ideas of “Siobhan's Song” from 2007’s “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered,” this magnificent song features only guitars and violins. These two instruments clash, work together, bounce melodies off each other, and provide one of the most haunting pieces of music to be put to tape this year. Sounding like a missing link between Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone, “A Murder To Child” may sound pretentious to close-minded metal fans, but music aficionados will salivate at what Arp does with the guitar.

“Odd Senses” ends with a 20-minute untitled track, which features everything from infomercials to fake cinema trailers about farting to a hilarious reference to the classic 2001 movie “Rock Star." All of this is held together by jazzy instrumental jam sessions, which are tasteful and a nice contrast to the rest of the madness. This is definitely not a track that warrants repeated plays, but has its charms.

Psyopus gives the listener a hell of a mind-trip with “Odd Senses.” Trying to keep up with the band can prove to be a daunting task, but then again, it was probably the band’s main goal in the long run. Psyopus has a sense of humor underneath the dark subject matters and electric frenzy, a characteristic that is lacking from a lot of modern bands. With an open mind, and maybe a few substances to drink/inhale, “Odd Senses” turns out to be another fascinating chapter to add to the strange tale that is Psyopus.

Highs: Inventive guitar work, wonderful instrumental in "A Murder To Child," top-notch musicianship by the entire band.

Lows: May sound jumbled and confusing to some, definitely not anything for the mainstream crowd to get into.

Bottom line: "Odd Senses" is a solid mix of mathcore and technical death metal that is a step in the right direction for Psyopus.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)