"Our Puzzling Encounters Considered"
Metal Blade Records
Quick, name as many synonyms as you can for “spasmodic.” How many terms are there that accurately describe attention deficiency?
Anything of the sort can be used to characterize the music of Rochester, N.Y.’s Psyopus. Featuring the frenzied talents of drummer Greg Herman and guitarist Christopher Arp, combined with singer Adam Frappolli’s anguished cords and bassist Fred DeCoste’s coiled bottom-feed, they make music for trashing hotel rooms.
It’s likely to either induce a “what the hell?” reaction or extreme bodily movement that can’t have good consequences. These are psycho riffs on speed; ambuscading grind done at inhumane cadence; directionless onslaughts that leave the senses bloodied and bewildered and their own macabre version of jazz. Creepy sound effects like crying babies, manic laughing and spinning film reels are thrown in for good measure.
But it’s really Arp’s stage, and he’s not afraid to show his mastery. The technical shredding he exhibits on “Imogen’s Puzzle pt. 2" could make Eddie Van Halen’s eyes roll back in his head. “Siobhan’s Song” is the only point on the CD when Psyopus really lets up. It’s a solo showcase for Arp, and the quiet, palatable charms he exhibits shows he’s not all about speed, volume and the devil’s work.
The rest of “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered” is controlled chaos. A lot of bands tried this route in the wake of the Dillinger Escape Plan’s “Calculating Infinity.” To date, none can touch Psyopus.