Psykup - We Love You All
Season Of Mist
Progressive Metalcore, Avant-Garde
6 songs (54:43)
Release year: 2008
Psykup, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

The trouble with Technical Metal bands is that all too often you’re left with the impression that they’re obsessed; not with the music, but with laying down a musical record of their skill, sacrificing songwriting and accessibility in favour of obtuseness, which is increasingly becoming the mark of quality in today’s weird and wonderful scene. After all, experimentation is not such a risk as it was; the underground is healthy, with plenty of large labels willing to sign trendsetters, and there’s always a fanzine around willing to praise whatever they can claw from an increasingly paranoid and defensive music industry. Fortunately for you, dear reader, you’re at Metal Reviews, where wiser heads prevail – but the risk isn’t completely gone. By trusting us to give impartial facts and opinions about a certain piece of music you’re gambling the price of that CD on us, a big responsibility in these days where the cost of an album could feed a third-world family for a week. What’s to stop me from saying this album is fantastic, and then defending myself against your righteous indignation by blaming your poor taste?

Fortunately for the suspicious and unfortunately for the virtuous, the state of modern music is such that you can click a few buttons and download the relevant album for yourself within minutes, thereby making the review rather superfluous… it’s always nice to have a few guiding words however, and you’re certainly going to need it with Psykup. Formed in France in 1995 and here on full-length nombre trois, the band delights in screwing with the heads and ears of their listeners. Six tracks are present on We Love You All, five of which are over eight minutes long, and all of which will take a long, long time to get to grips with. Instrumentally, think a Metalcorist Atheist kidnapped and fed lots of psychedelic drugs, then forced to listen to nothing but Incubus for a month. Yeah, hardly the most desirable of blendings, but there’s something about We Love You All that keeps you listening, despite the occasional drift into Nu-Metal riffage.

It’d take hours to describe each schizophrenic song in detail, but from the first few System Of A Down-twitchings of Colour Me Blood Red (soon switching to an unholy battle between Sikth and Textures, with Mr Bungle and Architects pitching in) you’ll either be hooked for all nine-plus minutes, or you’ll throw your headphones across the room in disgust. Saying this has a certain audience is like saying that Cryptopsy have a dwindling fanbase – a massive understatement! In fact, if Psykup have a potential audience out there, it’s the people that liked The Unspoken King, not because We Love You All is that bad, but because this is what the Canadians would have produced if they hadn’t sacrificed their technicality to the idol of mass appeal – clean vocals that front musical sections often more complex than the harsh sections, Jazz influences strengthened rather than weakened, even the ‘Core elements embraced and used as a positive.

What we’re left with, then, is an album that deserves a chance, but will probably annoy more people than it seduces. Psykup merit a place in the ranks of those bands that are pushing the boundaries of the more commercial end of Metal, and seem destined to the same fate: furious internet arguments about whether they’re actually any good or not. Whichever side you fall on, you‘re sure to admire the band’s technical skill; it’s just a shame that they didn’t cut these six long tracks into ten or so shorter, more restrained songs. As We Love You All stands, it’s of limited appeal – no matter how many times you listen, there’s nothing to make you fall in love, nothing that keeps you coming back for more – and so ultimately fails as anything more than a curio.

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