Psycroptic - _Ob(Servant)_
(Nuclear Blast Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
If there's one thing I've learned in my twenty eight years on this planet, it's this: never count down a determined Australian -- not in sports, and certainly not in music. Having released their last effort (2006's _Symbols of Failure_) to a level of anticipation that wasn't half matched by actual honest-to-goodness follow through, the news that the Tasmanian quartet had landed themselves a spot in the pillowy bosom of the Nuclear Blast roster was initially somewhat puzzling. One listen to _Ob(Servant)_ makes short work of clarifying what the Germans may have seen in them.Immediately striking are "A Calculated Effort" and "Slaves of Nil" -- both compositions that recall a day when the majority of death metal was built around complex, engaging riffs first and foremost as opposed to relentless blasting. This method snakes its way throughout the entire album, and each track is delivered with hooks, personality, and character held firmly intact. Subtle and, at times, leftfield dynamics pepper more atmospheric numbers like "Removing a Common Bond" and the epic closer, "Initiate". Elsewhere the quartet prove that they can kick teeth in with the best of them, and there's no mistaking that the nine songs on offer are still as vicious, snarling and brutal as anything you'll find in the genre these days.Jason Peppiatt's duelling high and low vocals are both refreshingly unique and punishingly effective. Dave Haley is on fire behind the drumkit, and his brother's technically top-end guitarwork ensures that at no point does any one section on _Ob(Servant)_ speed by in a faceless blur. Combined, these elements make for one of the year's most compelling death metal albums by a thoroughly impressive margin.
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