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Psycroptic – The Watcher of All Award winner

The Watcher of All
by Eric Poulin at 08 December 2020, 6:57 AM

PSYCROPTIC is a technical death metal based out of West Hobart, Tasmania in Austrlia and who have been around since 1999. This is their latest EP entitled The Watcher of All which contains 2 songs and was released through Agonia Records on November 27th, 2020. This is a limited edition 12-inch colored vinyl that was produced for only 300 copies.

I have been a long-time fan of this project as far as I can remember. Back in 2003, I was having a discussion with the new singer of QUO VADIS at the time and knowing his love for death metal of all genres, he dropped this name and I decided to check them out. I was impressed not ony by their amazing technical skills but also the sheer and utter brutality that oozed out of every single song. It was not only the production that made the songs sound so loud and gritty, but the fact the band put so much energy in every note and arrangement to show off both creative sides of their music.

The first song “The Watcher of All” which also happens to be the title of this EP, with its special voice effects (there are some female choirs in there for sure), gets incredibly loud before we here the visceral distortion of the guitars. It does not take long for the powerful vocals of Jason Peppiatt kick in, they shift from a SOILWORK style to some effects that make it sound lower (think the effect we hear in ARCH ENEMY, especially with ANGELA GASSOW. There is a much faster drum pattern that shows up a few times that is combined some highly progressive notes and progressions. The double-bass drums also find a way through the mix in a very aggressive fashion. You do have your quintessential slower half-time passages, but essentially the song is in full-blown overdrive almost from start to finish.

The much groovier start to “A Fragile Existence” does not really indicate the overall mood of the song, as it is a lot faster than the previous song and contains some MISERY INDEX vocal styles that were not present in the 1st track. You get a plethora of notes and incredibly dizzying melodies combined with rhythm that just heaviness. If you remember the old days of the Maryland band I mentioned above, you will hear some of the similarities. The clear-cut exception is that this song goes way beyond the grindcore elements that are now a staple in the latter’s sound. There is no denying that is pure chaos and technical expertise combined together. In order to produce a very complicated piece of music, you often need the 2 facets of death metal. I mentioned the word dizzying, because there are so many complex parts being played at the same time, that it can be an arduous task to focus on only one of them and before you know it, the song has reached its finale.

If there was one EP this year maybe other than the one released by CARCASS earlier this year that I had to privilege to review that makes me want a full album sooner than later, this would be it. The band show off their skills and have really mastered and crafted their sound in the last 20 years to the point where it sounds very modern, yet it keeps that old school vibe that has everyone enthralled these days in the death metal realm. If these 2 songs are any indication of what the next record will sound like (let us hope in 2021), then we could have an early sleeper for death metal album of the year when it comes out.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Watcher of All
2. A Fragile Existence
David Haley - Drums
Joe Haley - Guitars
Jason Peppiatt - Vocals
Todd Stern – Bass
Record Label: Agonia Records


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