March 18, 2010

Psyopus - Odd Senses

Why do I feel as if I have been put through a meat grinder? My brain has been beaten out of my head and it is lying on the ground in front of me. This cannot be right, can it? Is music supposed to have this sort of effect? I have a strong suspicion that if I lift up my shirt (don't worry, I won't) my ribs will be covered in discolored bruises. Psyopus deliver an uncompromising sonic beat down of epic proportions. Once it has begun I am not sure it is possible to escape. In some cases this would be considered a good thing. With regards to Odd Senses I am not so sure it is a good thing.

Psyopus is mathcore/tech metal/grindcore or some combination there of. At first I thought I was going to be in for an experience similar to when I was introduced to Cephalic Carnage. Unfortunately, aside from some surface similarities the two experiences have nothing in common. Odd Senses just goes one step beyond. That one step is a rather large leap away from the insane stuff Cephalic Carnage does and lands in the world of near complete abstraction.

I find it pretty much impossible to put these songs into any sort of relatable context. The "music" is all over the place. There are moments where it feels like a song is about to break out, but these guys a re sure to put a stop to that with a quickness. I feel pretty safe in saying I derived very little enjoyment from this collection of sounds. I think calling them songs may be giving them too much credit. There are sounds being made and there are instruments involved, however the sounds that are emitted do not have much to do with each other. In short, the notes that are not friends, they don't know each other and they are angry. Whether they are angry at the other notes and sounds for not playing along or for forgetting to bring along relatives, I am not sure. What I am sure about is that these sounds want absolutely nothing to do with each other.


As disconcerting and aggravating as the music is, there is one thing that I do like about it. Psyopus has but one founding member left, guitar player Christopher Arp, and he alone is the reason to spend any time with this at all. Just be aware that in order to experience what he has to offer, you will be wading into the deep end of shark infested waters without any real means of survival. Simply put, you are on your own, no one can rescue you.

 Christopher Arp is a technical wizard. He plays the guitar like a man possessed. His fingers fly over the fretboard unleashing a torrent of notes the likes you have never heard before and are unlikely to hear again (as once will likely be enough). You see, as interesting as his playing is, as good as he can appears to be, as technically proficient as he is, if there is no substance there is no need to revisit it.

You know, I guess it isn't Arp alone, but all of the musicians here display a high level of technical proficiency on Odd Senses. If only these skills could be harnessed into something worth listening to. Seriously, this album just batters you about the head and neck viciously and without remorse. As crisp as the production is, as precise as the players are, the album is a chore to listen to. Ultimately boring and headache inducing.

I guess you could call the last track the one bright spot. It is a cut called "A Murder to Child" and it finds the band at its most restrained. The distortion has been turned off, a string section has been added, and there is actual melody to the technique. It is actually quite beautiful at times. Too bad it cannot make up for the rest of the album and is followed by an unlisted 20-minute long track of sound bites that further grates the nerves.

Bottomline. I am sure there is an audience for this, but I do not seem to be it. I can respect the technical skills they demonstrate, but I need something to hang my hat on, if you will. This is nothing but headache creating tech freak outs just for the sake of making it. Better luck next time.

Not Recommended.

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