Psycroptic-Divine Council album review by M.Jenkins. FFO: Nasty and accomplished Tech Death.


Psycroptic-Divine Council album review by M.Jenkins. FFO: Nasty and accomplished Tech Death.

Psycroptic is definitely Australia's kings of Tech-Death Metal and has dropped some awesome releases, but I always felt the live translation is always much better. That's no slight, it's just they are a major force live and have gripping performances. Divine Council is yet another solid release for their fine catalogue. I feel this album is the band slightly maturing and breathing more with some added flavours that are different and intriguing.

The basis of this band and its foundation is aggressive tech-death with complex flow and punishing tone. This album sees them add some additional vocals and orchestral-like samples. Now with some songs, this works well, but not always. But unlike other albums, you need to listen to this album a few times to resonate with it. But rest assured the throat-grabbing songs are there to pacify your love for the main type of audio abuse you'd expect from this institution. 

Opener Rend Asunder greets you with the sonic warfare you want and need and like many tracks; the tension and layers just build, build and build. And that's because these guys are sheer wizards of their genre. Thick riffs on this opener and A Fool's Errand, This Shadowed World and Ashes of Our Empire just knock you for six with dynamic production and supreme songcraft. All of these are tech as fuck and are tangentially pretty pleasing whilst being totally abrasive and the tempo changes are brilliant. Like all classic bands, the vocals are as dominant as the top-class musicianship present. But whilst I completely get the need to add some new elements, I am personally not a major fan of some of the added vocals and almost borderline symphonic keyboards on some tracks. It works very well on Enslavement as the song has a decent and grim black metal overlay or vibe to that track. The atmospheric touch is well placed and dramatic, but not in a cheesy way. 

But tracks 6-8 are definitely more adventurous for this band with some acoustic, almost Spanish guitar riffs, but often I can hear the skill and appreciate the tension but these tracks are not the usual bangers from this band. This is not a negative as even any band playing close to 5% of this band is quite a task. I found The Prophet's Council plodding in the midsection and Awakening just took too long to get moving like the previous track. They are not bad songs, just not as urgent and immediate as the other killer tracks. A Fragile Existence is one clever song that is deeply moody, and solid and shows how the band have evolved so much, but it definitely takes a few listens to resonate or succumb to. The ending is quite dramatic and intelligently forceful. Exitus closes this solid album out and is the classic Psycroptic we love Technical Death Metal perfection with totally filthy vocals, soaring guitars and a rhythm section to destroy buildings. But again I am still not sold on the additional female backing vocals and orchestral samples. I completely respect the need to broaden the musical horizons but it seems unnecessary. But regardless this is a super competent and solid release that deserves frequent plays. I suggest you give this album multiple listens as some of the newer style need some air like a fine wine. And once it hits you, you can clearly see the supreme skill of this legendary band. And you know they will slaughter you every time when you see them live. I love those reassuring things in life and Psycroptic I thank you!

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