Psyopus Ideas Of Reference
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1. Mork And Mindy (Daydream Lover)
3. Death, I... MP3
4. Longroad To The 4th Dimension
7. Imogen's Puzzle
9. Bones To Dust
Reviewed by: Cory
// Published: 6/24/2004
Ever since Dream Theater made it OK for "metal" and musical theory to go hand in hand so many years ago, there has been a slow and steady evolution of metal into increasingly confusing genres. Terms like "math" and "tech" have become more commonplace than "death" or "thrash" when describing new metal bands. Psyopus is the latest in a string of technically brilliant metal acts to gain popularity by placing complexity over groove or melody.
Each song is generally composed of a string of spastic guitar, playing in mind-boggling time signatures, underscored by blastbeats and otherwise adept jazz-style drumming, all accompanied by a fairly standard metal singer. There are also occassional guitar interludes ranging anywhere from intriguing in a Philip Glass sort of way ("Imogen's Puzzle") to musical masturbation a la Jon Petrucci ("Death, i...").
While this formula generally creates an interesting overall listen, I can't help but wonder why this band even bothered having vocals. It seems fairly obvious that the point of this music is to showcase the depth of talent that the band possesses and Adam Frappolli's screams are the band's weakest link. It may be unorthodox and even awkward to play this sort of metal without a singer, it is more distracting to have a vocalist whose talent doesn't begin to approach the rest of the band. In defense of Frappolli, I would be hard pressed, in fact, to choose a metal vocalist whose ability does match the chops that Psyopus certainly displays on this record.
My biggest complaint about this record is the incredibly long "secret track" filled with the religious ramblings of a mentally incompetent man. Some might argue that this doesn't detract from the rest of the disc, but I was personally annoyed by it more and more on each listen. Secret tracks or bonus songs are all well and good, but any time I need to take a CD out before it's over, someone is doing something wrong.
Bottom Line: While "tech" is admittedly not my area of expertise, I can certainly recognize when a band does it well and Psyopus does it better than most. The nice thing about "Ideas of Reference" is that although one might need knowledge of musical theory to truly understand its brilliance, it is certainly not a pre-requisite for enjoyment. Much like jazz did during the 1960's, some metal is evolving as a musical form into something far less immediately accessible but no less inherently rewarding. Psyopus' "Ideas of Reference" will certainly have its place in the history of that evolution.
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