Released: 2001, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Psychotogen is brutal, technical death metal from the Nile/Cryptopsy school – a thick, dense, mind-numbing machine that could not have been more precisely designed by the Army Corps of Death Metal Engineers. They at least place in the preliminaries of the “math metal” sweepstakes, but unfortunately their demo album, PERVERSE AND UNNATURAL PRACTICES, doesn’t pack much of an emotional wallop.
Psychotogen does have a number of things going for it – excellent guitars, pummeling blast beats, and a vocalist (Rob Kline) who can shift from a Morbid Angel growl to a Marduk screech in nothing flat. In addition to its nifty name (a “psychotogen” is a drug that induces psychosis, by the way), its frontman is going for a doctorate in forensic psychology! I am not making this up – it’s in their press kit! However, this is another band whose technology has developed faster than its creativity. An assaulting opener, “Chaingod,” sets up some lethal brutality, and the thick riffs fly fast and furiously, but the album never moves much beyond this. There are some good tracks. “Cathexis” has a catch to it; I like the thrashy opening of “In The Dust Of Your Own Nothingness”; and the seventh track, an epic called “Death Of The Old Ways,” the album’s best, comes genuinely close to impressing me on a level that runs deeper than mere admiration for their technical brilliance. But for all of it that’s really all Psychotogen has to offer. Perhaps I’m too demanding a judge when it comes to bands like this, but when PERVERSE AND UNNATURAL PRACTICES was over I felt unsatisfied, despite the fact I was certain I was listening to top-notch musicians playing their hearts out.
If you play guitar and love hyper-technical death metal, you will probably find Psychotogen exactly what the doctor ordered. If, however, guitar acrobatics alone don’t impress you, you may want to get yourself a different prescription.
Contact Bring Out Your Dead Productions, P.O. Box 312, Hunt Valley, MD 21030 or visit http://www.psychotogen.com