Psycroptic – Alpha Breeding
By: David E. Gehlke
Leave it to a band from the exotic isle of Tasmania to infuse some much-needed character into technical death metal. Psycroptic has been laying down some rather zesty and unique DM for over a decade, having initially found their footing with 2001’s The Isle of Disenchantment. The band’s lock-step brother-to-brother combination of Joe (guitars) and Dave (drums) Haley is one of massive potency, thus elevating albums like 2006’s Symbols of Failure and their Nuclear Blast debut, 2008’s (Ob)Servant to the upper-echelons of zany death metal.
The new year sees the band release its fifth album, The Inherited Repression, a body of work that was four years in making. It’s not like Psycroptic wasn’t busy – opening tour slots with Carcass, Decapitated, and Origin brought the band higher visibility, while Joe Haley constructed his home studio, which was used for the recording of The Inherited Repression. In the end, the wait was worth it, for Psycroptic have produced an even fuller and elaborate album than its predecessor, sure to appease those who yearn for the band’s tech-death halcyon days. And as Dave Haley would go onto tell Blistering, they’re more than happy to keep the blood-thirsty death metal throng happy…
Blistering.com: For the early part of your career, you were considered to be one of the more cult/underground technical death metal bands. Since you hooked up with Nuclear Blast, how have things changed for the band?
Dave Haley: We've been able to get out music out to more people, which has been good for us. Nuclear Blast has really good distribution as well as excellent staff so it’s helped raise our profile somewhat. We still have a little bit of the 'cult' thing going on – maybe due to the fact that we're from Tasmania and it gives us a bit of an 'exotic' feel to some people. This might attract some people. We also have a slightly different approach to extreme metal than other bands which might also be a factor. Whatever it is, we're very happy that people do care about what we do.
Blistering.com: Clearly, the Psycroptic that put out The Isle of Disenchantment is not the same that is about to release The Inherited Repression. When you think of the first album in comparison to the new one, what are some of the things that come to mind?
Haley: We were between ages 16 and 19 when we wrote and recorded the first album so we of course were in a very different musical headspace than what we are in now. We were still trying to find our own style back then. The first album was only ever intended as a demo – that's essentially all it is, a demo pressed on CD. We recorded it in a very short amount of time and we really had no idea of what we’re doing really. We've learned quite a lot over the years, but I still think we have kept the same excitement for the music. The new album is what we want to be doing now, and The Isle... is what we wanted to do then.
Blistering.com: Being that (Ob)Servant was most people's introduction to the band, would you say that it was the right album for people to be introduced to Psycroptic?
Haley: Well, it's a cool album, but we were a little rushed in finishing it up, so I'm not 100% satisfied with it. I think The Inherited Repression is a way stronger album and would probably have been a better album for people to hear first. But that's not to say Ob(Servant) is a bad album...it's still a very cool album with some killer songs. I wish we had a little more time for mixing as I think there are certain things about it that don't sit the best. But if you can’t improve on an album you just released, there isn't much point going on, is there?
Blistering.com: Four years between albums is quite a long time for a death metal band. Any particular reason why such the long wait?
Haley: We did a lot of touring for Ob(Servant) while all still working day jobs...which is a very tricky thing. We started to record the new album this time last year and spent a lot of time working on it, so essentially we were touring and promoting Ob(Servant)for two and a half years, we spent six months writing, then eight months recording, and that brings us up to November 2011 when we had to submit the album. So we were busy and working as well...ha-ha. I hope next album there isn't as big a gap. I want to start working on it as soon as we can.