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Psykup - "We Love You All" (CD)

Psykup - "We Love You All" CD cover image

"We Love You All" track listing:

1. Color Me Blood Red (9:40)
2. Birdy (8:23)
3. My Toy My Satan (10:19)
4. The Choice Of Modern Men (4:26)
5. Retroaction (11:22)
6. Here Come The Waves (10:33)

Reviewed by on April 9, 2009

"In its self-proclaimed quest to 'get rid of the classical verse/chorus structure,' the band has also allowed the songs to stretch to near-ridiculous proportions."

With "We Love You All," French metallers Psykup prove that just because you can combine wildly divergent musical forms in one song doesn't necessarily mean that you should do so. In promotional materials for the disc, the band claims influences ranging from Primus, to Strapping Young Lad and Alice In Chains, and you'll hear those influences loud and clear.

The opener, "Color Me Blood Red," starts with some great thrash guitar and death metal vocals, before a slap-bass and clean funk guitar breakdown that's vintage early-1990s Les Claypool. Then, it's back to the screaming for a while, before coming to a section that is pure Alice In Chains. It's almost spooky how much the two vocalists — guitarist Ju and keyboardist Milka — are reminiscent of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell in this section. The problem is that the song, like most of the rest of the songs on the album, lacks cohesion. It's less a complete whole than essentially a series of sections that show the band emulating other bands that they like. And, in this case, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

In its self-proclaimed quest to "get rid of the classical verse/chorus structure," the band has also allowed the songs to stretch to near-ridiculous proportions. This album has six songs, and is nearly 55 minutes long. Then again, without choruses and verses, the songs each feel like at least three or four different pieces, so that may not be a concern to some listeners.

I certainly can't complain about the level of instrumental virtuosity on this disc, particularly on the part of bassist Pelo, who really deftly handles his lead parts. Sure, he's reminiscent of Claypool, but that's hardly a knock. Also, drummer Brice handles the time changes skillfully, but there are too many style changes to allow him to really make the songs hold together like they should.

The vocals are all over the place. The death screams give way to Axl Rose shrieks, which then give way to the Alice In Chains harmonies I mentioned earlier.

The two best songs on the album are, unsurprisingly, the ones that are the least cluttered. "Birdy" begins with a quiet Alice In Chains vibe before turning into a thrasher, but then returns to the opening style at the end. The album's shortest track (at a bit over four minutes), "The Choice Of Modern Man," is mostly a straight-ahead thrasher with a couple funk elements, and a showcase for what Psykup could accomplish with a little more focus.

Normally, I'm all for creating something new out of divergent styles, but on "We Love You All," Psykup seldom achieves a complete synthesis of those styles into a greater whole.

Highs: The Alice In Chains vocal harmonies of "Birdy;" the funk-infused thrash of "The Choice Of Modern Men."

Lows: Many too-long songs that simply throw together a variety of musical styles without blending them well.

Bottom line: Instrumentally, Psykup's great, but the songs lack coherence.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)