Psyopus - Our Puzzling Encounters Considered Review
by Matt Hensch
There are two kinds of technical metal: good technical metal and bad technical metal. Some bands like Cryptopsy, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and the legendary Spastic Ink have broken the standard rules of general metal by applying erratic riffs with maniacal drum patterns to make a sandwich of cacophony that's both filling and enjoyable. On the other hand, we have bands that try to make their music so crazy and complex that it almost loses all enjoyable aspects. One band that I find to be unendurable from this technical overkill aspect is Psyopus. While this spastic quintet is able to play sophisticated music that clearly requires talent, the ongoing blur of random instruments and vocals makes their second album, "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered," an annoying barrage of directionless sound.
I hate to sound vague, but Psyopus's music is probably one of the most messy and imprecise things I've ever heard. Chris Arp's guitar playing is rather amazing when considering the amount of notes and rhythm changes he makes, yet the overemphasis on technicality is taken way out of proportion. There are no stable riffs, but rather a guy playing shred guitar with random drum beats and screaming vocals in the background. The drumming is quite similar to the guitar playing because of the infinite changes and the craziness of it all, yet the nonstop complexity that seemed amazing at first gets really boring after forty minutes of the same thing. There is no doubt in my mind that these guys have mastered their instruments, but that's where the problem lies; they play their instruments so well it debunks any enjoyable moments from this album and makes it almost impossible to listen to.
Singer Adam Frappoli vocal style on "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered" resembles the typical screaming you'll find on any metalcore album. I personally don't have a problem with the screaming type, but it certainly doesn't help out the already drowning record. Just like all the music on this album, Frappoli's voice becomes very annoying after the first few songs and drags on until the end. Frappoli occasionally uses death growls and vocal effects, which sound good at times, but most of his performance is highly irritating.
It's hard for me to pinpoint any enjoyable moments on "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered" because it's all just a huge mess of sound. Even though I usually have interest in technical music, I find this to be sloppy and horrid. The talent in Psyopus is obviously present, but the poor song structure and weak formations drag this album into the dirt. Heed my words and ignore this monstrosity.
1. The Pig Keeper's Daughter
3. Scissor F**k Paper Doll
4. Whore Meet Liar
6. Imogen's Puzzle Part II
7. Play Some Skynard
8. Kill Us
9. Siobhan's Song
10. Happy Valentines Day
11. Our Puzzling Encounters Considered
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