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Psyopus - Our Puzzling Encounters Considered

Label: Metal Blade
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: The Goat

Do you remember the first metal album that you heard that was just too extreme for your earthly ears to handle, without bleeding profusely? I do. It was Fear Factory's “Soul of the New Machine.” This release was so heavy, at the time, that I couldn't listen to it in its entirety. It was weeks before my extreme metal tolerance was built up enough. Now, it is certainly one of my favorite releases of all time (which, incidentally, if you do not have, shame on you…bad metalhead).


The reason I bring this up is that Psyopus' new album "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered" is one of those albums. It is the logical conclusion to the crafted chaos of extreme metal to this point in history. Mix Dillinger Escape Plan (an inevitable comparison for ALL math technical metal) with Devin Townshend's "City" era Strapping Young Lad manic madness, add some of Scatterbrain's party thrash attitude, the in your face attack of Converge (without the anguished catharsis), and stir in a random almost schizophrenic fashion. Oh yeah, add some super spliced edited Steve Vai guitar twiddling and you have Psyopus' latest release.

This album, in my professional, most clinical opinion, is a seriously disturbed concoction of chaos I have ever heard. I had heard of this band and it had been described as a technical metal guitarist's extreme wet dream of math metal. I am always leery of the term “technical” when connected in some fashion to "math metal". Don't get me wrong, I love a wide assortment of extreme metal, but I truly need to be in the mood for “math metal” as I tend to like some level of melody in my music. Needless to say, I was leery of this release, especially being unfamiliar of their previous release and only knowing its reputation.

Psyopus is not, I repeat not for the faint of heart. I would recommend either drinking a LOT of coffee before listening to this release or consuming as much of your favorite energy drink as your intestinal tract can tolerate with out eating itself from the inside out. In fact, you might want to invest in some Mylanta or Maalox (the mint flavored one is simply divine) for the side effects of listening to this album. These are not flaws by any means. It is just a necessary precaution to keep yourself safe while you partake of this awesome spectacle of insanity.

Thankfully, in some twist of compassion (for whom is unclear), Psyopus give the listener a respite from the spastic grinding guitar wiggins with a certain psychotic interlude in the form of ‘Imogen's Puzzle Pt. 2’. It is equal parts jazz and extreme metal on methamphetamine. ‘Play Some Skynyrd’ comes in at only 32 seconds long after but it leaves no doubt of what form of madness has taken hold of our troubadours. ‘Siobhan's Song’ is such a magnificent departure from the album that it is almost out of place. It is almost religious in its delicateness, yet it seems to hold some depth of deadly intent.

I suspect my brain has singled in on the two instrumentals out because they offer a calm in the storm. ‘Siobhan’ is simply awesome and amazing in its presence. It counter balances all the craziness that is around it. This is certainly where genius and insanity overlap.

As the sheer grinding complexity of this album grows on you, perhaps like a fungus, you lose any sense of melody and find that it actually brainwipes any stressful thoughts…drifting on the psychosis…no longer worried...Psyopus will take care of you.

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