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Album review: Psycroptic "Divine Council"
After four years since their last release, Psycroptic have released their eight full-length album “Divine Council” (Prosthetic Records) today, the 5th August 2022.
Like so many other bands, the pandemic created a physical barrier for recording this album, but according to Dave Haley (drummer) in my interview with him (see the link at the bottom of this article), this allowed them to take their time and focus on each of the nine tracks individually. As a result of this, the album is beautifully produced and feels polished. The band has also chosen the sublime talents of Eliran Kantor to produce the album artwork, which does not fail to create visual impact. For the recording of this album, the vocalist from Origin, Jason Keyser, lends his talents, which blends very well with the musicianship of Psycroptic.
FFO: Necrophagist, Cryptopsy, Spawn of Possession
- Rend Asunder
- A Fool’s Errand
- This Shadowed World
- Ashes of Our Empire
- The Prophets Council
- A Fragile Existence
I will start by saying that this album shows absolutely no mercy and each song packs a punch. The opening track Rend Asunder starts off aggressively and hits you immediately with relentless technical drumming and intense roaring vocals whilst also featuring some interesting, almost thrash-y riffs. Ashes of Our Empire and Exitus also offer some brutal and fast paced musical technicality, coupled with intense and very powerful vocals. Exitus rounds off the album nicely, with a very nice use of synths and cymbals faded out towards the end, creating a very disturbing finale.
A Fool’s Errand and A Fragile Existence feature catchy hooks; with the former song featuring a section which will induce immediate headbanging and the latter including a haunting use of female choral vocals in the introduction.
Awakening and This Shadowed World are some of the more melodic and slightly softer tracks on the album, which demonstrates the diversity of the band’s talents. This Shadowed World also features my most memorable ‘stank face’ moment on this album, with a brutal vocal growl which hit the death metal spot very nicely!
The two stand-out tracks on this album, for me, are tracks four and six. Enslavment has a very interesting intro. A slow, resonant guitar creates a suspenseful feeling, before building into a thick textured and grand arrangement and the shrieking vocal style adds to the overall ‘black metal’ feel to this song.
The Prophets Council, again, features a beautiful intro with gentle and melodic acoustic guitar and piano, punctuated with a soft drum beat and it has a very ominous feel to it. The same gentle melody carries through the song, gradually and seamlessly getting heavier as the song progresses.
This album is intriguing for fans of technical death metal, like myself. It has some of the classic elements of tech-death, but Psycroptic have also evolved their own style over their two decades of existence. The single “Rend Asunder” certainly grabbed my attention when it was released earlier this year and the rest of the album definitely did not disappoint.
This album launches at you with ferocious power, riffs and amazing technicality. Rating: 8/10.