Psyopus - Ideas of Reference (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Ideas of Reference (2004)

Black Market Activities

Wow. That's really all I need to say about this one. Black Market Activities has a mixed bag, some bands are solid, like From A Second Story Window, some are terrible, like Found Dead Hanging, but this time they've definitely hit a home run. Rochester's Psyopus have crafted an impressive album with "Ideas of Reference," one that should garner them loads of attention in the future.

I won't lie, when I read the press release for this album I was expecting another Dillinger Escape Plan clone. Most of the time, I'll hear of a band like this, and people will gush with superlatives. However, a lot of these bands, while being excellent musicians, can't seem to write coherent songs. The tech metal parts are impressive, but the songs simply don't flow. Psyopus is different, their songs are complex and chaotic, but none of it sounds forced and each piece fits together brilliantly. Like the Dillinger Escape Plan, jazz plays a major part in Psyopus' sound, but to simply toss them in a pile of sound alikes would be unfair. The guitar on this album is absolutely ridiculous, with each riff I could only say to myself "ok, they can't push the bounds any further," but I only found myself being even more impressed a few minutes later. The drumming is on a level entirely its own; Greg Herman shifts effortlessly between double bass rolls, blast beats, and just about every other trick in the book. It's hard to imagine that anyone could keep up with the insane pace of this music, but Herman's inhuman drumming skills more than fit the bill. Musically, the band shifts between dual guitar riffing, frantic scaling, and some odd, soft parts that resemble nintendo music. But this band is more than a chance for each of the members to show off their talent. If these guys were just being technical for the sake of being technical, this album might have seemed forced, but each song is well constructed and never lacks intensity. This band triumphs where others have failed because they believe in what they're doing.

As much as I hate to say it, especially this early, this is already a strong candidate for album of the year. While I wouldn't call it another "Calculating Infinity" this album blows the pretenders and cheap imitations away. Fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Daughters, and Creation is Crucifixion should give this a listen. But don't think this band is simply ripping off their contemporaries, because they're doing their own thing. If you want to hear a band playing technical, challenging music that isn't simply going through the motions, check out Psyopus. I find it hard to believe that this band hasn't garnered much, if any attention as of yet. I'm guessing that this release will open a lot of peoples eyes to just how impressive this band really is. How are they going to follow this one up?

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