Symbols Of Failure
posted on 3/2006 By:
If you tend to blow your technical death metal wad over Decapitated, Necrophagist, Gorguts, Capharnaum, Anata, Spawn of Possession and such, grab another box of Kleenex...
Australia’s Psycroptic return with new , label, new vocalist and new album, following up 2003 well received The Scepter of the Ancients. Not much is tangibly different though; new growler Jason Peppiatt isn’t as gruff as Matthew Chalk, the production isn’t as bass heavy, but other wise underrated drummer Dave Haley (The Amenta) is the impressive backbone of this ultra complex effort that will leave you in awe with its sheer mix of velocity and technicality.
The thing with technical death metal is that, to me, most of its seems for show. Even Decapitated’s recent effort, though it grew on me, isn’t an album I’m likely to remember or revisit, unless I’m absolutely in the mood for some technical overload. I tend to prefer my death metal more simple and memorable. That being said, if you're one of those folks turned on by a total riff orgy, Symbols of Failure will test your refractory period to its limit.
The guitars of Joel Haley (also of The Amenta), I will admit however, are just sick, this guy can shred it up with any of his European or US counterparts, and rarely is a riff in place for more than a few seconds before, you can take that as adventurous, boundary shattering song structures or as extreme, note based ADD. Either way, to me, the 9 songs blend into one long frenzied, fret spasm, and that’s good or bad depending on your take on this style of death metal.
As “The Color of Sleep” impressively opened The Scepter of the Ancients, “Alpha Breed” sets the bar high for Symbols of Failure. That’s good in that it grabs you sharply by the balls right off the bat, but bad because the bar is set so high. Psycroptic then bludgeon and pelt you with such an array of incredibly tight and almost robotic taught death metal, that there’s rarely a moment to fully appreciate all that is going on. It’s not until “Repairing the Dimensional Cluster” and “Epoch of the Gods” that there is any point remotely resembling a breather from the constant vortex of shifting notes and stop start slicing. In fact, I could barely tell the stop and start point between “Alpha Breed”, “Missionaries of a Future to Come”, “Merchants of Deceit” and “Minions: The Fallen”. Again, good or bad depending on your view of this particular delivery. Only “An Experiment in Transience” hints at being a ‘slow’ song, and even then it soon careens into a stachato maelstrom.
The production is a little dry for me, with barely any bass or low end lacking Decapitated’s total skin shredding tones, even if arguably even more complex. It also lacks Necrophagist’s intricate melodies and also woven into the complexity, making the album almost seem like one indefinable song.
All that being said, while Symbols of Failure didn’t hit me or grow on me as much as Organic Hallucinocis did, its still a very impressive display of musicianship, and if you are happy with that for your dollar, this is a no-brainer, but I want a little more long lasting substance for my money.
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The Inherited Repression
The Scepter of the Ancients