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Psychotomy - Aphotik Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 17 September 2018, 7:01 AM

I am absolutely enthralled by Death Metal bands that can create atmospheres by using nothing but vocals, guitars and drums.  So many bands think unconventional instruments, symphonies, and keyboards have to be used to create textures but nothing could be further from the truth.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a snob; I enjoy a great many of those types of bands.  However, there is just something to be said about brutal bands who can walk you through hell itself with gut wrenching guile and those sometimes unnecessary instrumental burdens.

Italy’s PSYCHOTOMY is one such band and their second full length, “Aphotik,” is a caustic and deranged experimentation where Death Metal meets musicians who play with a surgical scalpel focus. Desolate ringing from the strings of the guitar open up the the intro to the first track, “Kenosis.”  I really appreciated the intro being included into the song because it created instant momentum and flow to the album, two things that never let up.  Lorenza and Irene’s dissonant guitar riffs echo Robert Vigina from IMMOLATION and no doubt he would be impressed with them.  Their playing is the soundtrack to the rapture but instead of angels taking you heaven, demons claw at you and drag you down.  The suffocating, sulfuric images that conjure up into most people’s minds when trying to imagine hell are the exact sounds emitting form this record that bury their way into your mind, like some sort of flesh eating bug.

Witness of Void,” is very much like looking into an abyssal darkness but instead of crying from a depressed cognitive dissonance, you go mad with the finality of it all. Matt’s intense drumming is the catalyst for this mental change, his being a barrage of snare attacks, rolls, cymbal attacks, and the ability to provide a strong foundation while being a beast unto himself. The riffs and drums compliment each other fiercely here and if one doesn’t give you whiplash the other surely will.  Matt plays bass on most of the tracks and he is just as competent with the low end as he is on drums. The album keeps things extremely intense for the next couple tracks but slows down for a slightly breather for “Ascent Through Malevolence,” but things are no less the product of a deafening darkness.  The clean guitar in the beginning is the approach of something bad from a blackened space too far away to see clearly and as the beginnings rumble, the full speed attack of double bass and Death growls that come straight from the gut to the grave offer no solace to the senses.  This track is dense, harrowing, and one of the best examples of the year of the power of Death Metal.

Final track, “Lethe,” is mind numbing like a foggy wasteland with things unseen moving around and also bulldozer brutal, the guitar leads providing a suffocating atmosphere. The middle of the track, where the heavy riffs just lay there and hold you down while the drums run you over, is gloriously grim and destructive.  Everlasting Spew Records is THE best underground label going right now and PSYCHOTOMY’s “Aphotik,” is another weapon to their already formidable arsenal.   It has been an incredible year for Death Metal, with everyone from CONSTRUCT OF LETHE to SKELETAL REMAINS to DEICIDE releasing new material; “Aphotik” stands close to the top of this death mountain.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Intro – Kenosis
2. Evidence of Tyranny
3. Witness of Void
4. Blasphemous Inception
5. Blood Red Kvlt
6. Ascent Through Malevolence
7. Conjuring The Abyss
8. Beyond The Eternal Omega
9. Lethe
L.D.R. (Lorenza De Rossi) - Guitars/Vocals
I.B (Irene Brazzolotto). - Guitars
M.V. (Matt) – Drums, Bass
Marco “Ser” - Bass on “Kenosis” and “Blood Red Kvlt
Record Label: Everlasting Spew Records


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