Psyopus – Ideas of Reference

Psyopus
Ideas of Reference

The formula for a recently new term, “tech metal,” appears to already be set in stone: insanely fast guitar play with plenty of technicality and more often than not some jazz shines through in the songwriting. With the new-found popularity of this genre, it is hard to separate the bands out there playing it. In order to stand out, a band really has to make me turned my head, or in Psyopus’ case, make my jaw drop.
What is it that is so special about Psyopus? Yes, it’s the speed in which the musicians play, the jazzy time signatures, etc. But what Psyopus has that a lot of these new tech bands are missing is an intangible grating quality that almost makes them hard to listen to. In fact, the first time I popped in Ideas of Reference I turned it off about half way through. Not because it was bad, but because the sheer intensity of this album is a bit much to digest in a single sitting.
Having heard the incredible “Death, I…” several months before this release, via the late mp3.com, I was excited as shit to finally get my hands on this beast. Little did I know what I was really in store for. This is seriously one of the most challenging releases I have come across in a long, long time. But the rewards you reap once your ears get broken in makes it all worth it. From the very beginning, this album had me floored. “Mork and Mindy (Daydream Lover)” starts out quietly but the volume is gradually increased leading up to some jaw dropping blast beats… then the drums and bass cut away leaving guitarist Chris Arp finger tapping about as fast as a hummingbird flaps its wings. Having already lost my jaw to the floor, my next natural reaction was to of course… crap my pants. This intensity never lets up for the duration of the album, so buckle up folks. As I said before “Death, I…” was my real first impression of the band, and at first I was sort of confused by the jazz-inspired guitar intro which at the 48-second mark the distortion pedal is hit and the same jazzy rhythm is played with the drums now in full effect. Spectacular. Other album highlights include the haunting guitar part about midway through “Anomaly” and Greg Herman’s drumming throughout the album is remarkable.
I think Ideas of Reference should be required listening to enter the tech brotherhood, so if you haven’t heard this album yet, you just aren’t as tech as you think you are. This album will definitely appeal to fans off Dillinger Escape Plan and Ion Dissonance, but it also sets itself apart by being far more jazzy and metal oriented than either of those bands. Go buy this immediately.