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Psycroptic - "Ob(Servant)" (CD)

Psycroptic - "Ob(Servant)" CD cover image

"Ob(Servant)" track listing:

1. Ob(Servant) (3:23)
2. A Calculated Effort (6:30)
3. Slaves Of Nil (6:01)
4. The Shifting Equilibrium (4:27)
5. Removing The Common Bond (6:00)
6. Horde in Devolution (5:21)
7. Blood Stained Lineage (4:54)
8. Immortal Army Of One (5:11)
9. Initiate (8:01)

Reviewed by on January 14, 2009

"The killer opening riff of 'Slaves Of Nil' in particular is the kind of amazing death metal groove I thought I'd only ever hear on a Nile album"

Signed to Nuclear Blast last year, Psycroptic's years of obscure brutality have seemingly come to a close, as perseverance and unnatural talent have earned them a badge of technical death metal honor. While a late comer in 2008, Ob(Servant) has had it's fair amount of hype as the boys from down under are pushed into the metal spotlight.

And so it seems "Ob(Servant)" is Psycroptic's coming of age album. While their first two albums are rightly hailed in the underground as landmarks of technical lunacy, "Ob(Servant)'s" predecessor "Symbols Of Failure" was given a lukewarm reception in comparison. Psycroptic has stepped up to the plate, not to play but to bludgeon in a style groovier than anything they've tried before. So just what's in this bag of tricks? Well to put this bluntly, there's no lack of patented Psycroptic soil-your-pants awesome moments on this album. When the foot hits the floor, spirals of fractured melodies and lightning quick bursts of notes will take your face off, leaving your skull smiling morbidly into the distance. The killer opening riff of "Slaves Of Nil" in particular is the kind of amazing death metal groove I thought I'd only ever hear on a Nile album - dammit, there goes my face again.

As a whole package however, "Ob(Servant)" feels toned down compared to previous efforts with the injection of groove replacing constant riff mania of previous albums. Sounds like blasphemy? Well it's a split. Most of the time we are in great territory - the heavens seem to open and groove will meld seamlessly into the technicality and this could have been the album of the year. On the other hand, when the tempo drops, things descend into pretty run of the mill metal riffing, which is the last thing I'd ever thought I'd say about a Psycroptic album. While a truly schizophrenic song like "Skin Coffin" from "Scepter Of Ancients" kept you guessing throughout it's off the wall duration, "Ob(Servant)" sounds a little more like what your average tech-death band aims for.

To go along with this, the album also has a very modern face. Super clicky machine-gun drums delivering a stellar performance and a slick guitar sound gives "Ob(Servant)" a surgical feel that will be natural for fans of modern metal. Vocally, it's a step up for Jason from "Symbols of Failure," but the vocals are easily the least outstanding thing about this album, with nothing stretching beyond the normal modern death metal fare. The punctuality and speed of guitarist Joe Haley is something that needs to heard if the word technical means anything to you, and the musicianship here is honed to a killer precision.

Deep down inside of me, the Demilich-loving, Gorguts t-shirt-wearing, tech-death fanatic wants me to deride Psycroptic for what is undoubtedly a modern tech-death album, but the grooves fit Psycroptic's twisted technicality like a glove. "Ob(Servant)" should have enough spastic moments to keep Psycroptic fans happy and draw fans of modern metal into the tech-death crowd at the same time. Just hold onto your face.

Highs: Classic Psycroptic insanity with a new found groove

Lows: Occasionally more run of the mill than Psycroptic fans might expect

Bottom line: Psycroptic has unleashed a modern tech-death behemoth worthy of the metal scene's attention

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)