Odd Senses

Written by: PP on 11/02/2009 12:54:21

Psyopus absolutely blew me away two years ago with "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered", a psychotically technical grind/experimental metal album that left jaws glued to the ground everywhere it went. Stuff like what their guitarist pulled off on the record just hadn't been heard anywhere else before - other than on previous Psyopus efforts, that is - and when the insane technical prowess was combined with ridiculous speed and a relevant ability to write and structure songs so that us non-superhumans could also understand it, the end result was an album leaving a lasting mark on anyone coming across it. Fast forward two years into February 2009, and Psyopus lineup has seen everyone exit through the revolving doors except for their guitar mastermind Christopher Arp. He's taken it as his life-mission to do two things: one, to replace the old members with new equally intense musicians, and two, to make the previous album sound like child's play in comparison to "Odd Senses".

So if you though "Our Puzzling..." was fast, just wait til you hear "Odd Senses" in its entirety. The high pitched, insect-sounding guitars from the "Insects" song have taken over completely, now resulting in just over 40 minutes of mind-blowing guitar experimentation and showcasing of absolutely ridiculous instrumental ability. When I say that the guitar is fast and technical, I don't just mean fast, I mean in a how-the-fuck-is-that-possible or Arp-cannot-be-human kind of way. The fact that all of the noise comes out of just one guitar ridicules any band using a dual-axe approach, and more than that, it takes the piss on the listener's ability to understand what's possible and what's not. Basically, "Odd Senses" is a psychotic aural challenge, it asks you if you understand enough about music to be able to appreciate this record, sort of in the same way as The Dillinger Escape Plan does when they are at their most relentless mathematically precise destructive moments.

At the same time, however, this requires a more serious question to be asked about Psyopus: at what point does the material become just one retard showing off his unworldly guitar skill and cross the thin line between great extreme music and no musical value whatsoever. If you take a track like "Duct Tape Smile", you'd probably be inclined to think the former, for it's the best Psyopus song I've heard to date, combining the pure instrumental insanity of "Insects" with a memorable song structure. But if you take something like "Boogeyman" or "Choker Chain" which are riddled with seriously annoying cut-n-paste vocal samples in between the chaotic grind/experimental scream-your-lungs-out & play-sickeningly-good-riffs passages, you are dangerously close to the latter. In the end, Psyopus will always be one of those bands that you play to your friends as a gimmick band and say "hey dude, listen to this, there's only ONE guitarist in that band, isn't that absolutely retarded?". Some, such as this reviewer, will surely be able to appreciate the intricate detail of every single song on the record and therefore praise the band, while others will find no musical value in this whatsoever. Which category do you fall under?

Download: Duct Tape Smile, The Burning Halo
For the fans of: See You Next Tuesday, The Red Chord, The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.02.2009
Metal Blade

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