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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

music review-Metal band’s latest album aspires to greatness, achieves mediocrity

By Matt Fulkerson/sports editor

Photo courtesy Psychotic Gardening  Psychotic Gardening’s fourth full-length release is often redundant and derivative. However, the metal band’s eerie vocals and driving bass help to rescue the album. Hymnosis goes on sale May 13.
Photo courtesy Psychotic Gardening Psychotic Gardening’s fourth full-length release is often redundant and derivative. However, the metal band’s eerie vocals and driving bass help to rescue the album. Hymnosis goes on sale May 13.

Combining equal parts death-, doom- and black-metal, Psychotic Gardening creates a sonic assault on the ears and the soul in its latest album, Hymnosis.

Definitely not for the faint of heart or the easily offended, the fourth album from the Winnipeg metal band isn’t complicated, but that’s hardly the point.

The deeply disturbing vocals of Chuck Labossiere and Gillishammer work in tandem to create a demonic harmony of guttural growls and piercing shrieks. The sound is unforgettable.

Mike Janssen’s bass work is impeccable throughout the entire album, providing a sludgy, mid-tempo groove to every song. If only guitarist Andrew Wiens could live up to the rest of the group.

This isn’t necessarily a knock on Wiens. What he does is good but at no point does he offer any surprises. Each solo, while played well, is utterly predictable.

The best track on the album by far is the band’s cover of Death’s “Open Casket,” which is slowed down to a slow crawl through the mud.

Not to be confused with the proto-punk band from the ’70s, Death was one of the most important and influential bands in American death-metal and recorded “Open Casket” for its second full-length album Leprosy in 1988.

Attempting to cover such an influential track from one of the founding bands in the death-metal scene is no small task, but Psychotic Gardening is more than up to the challenge as it pays homage to a great band and infuses its own signature sound.

The lyrics in its original tracks are a bit repetitive as Labossiere and Gillishammer constantly return to the theme of humanity as a “blinded mass of thoughtless slaves,” but this being death-metal, it kind of comes with the territory.

Perhaps the most inspired moment of the album comes in the last 20 seconds of “Mindfold” as the band slips into a face-melting, syncopated groove. If Hymnosis reached more peaks like this, the album could easily move from good to great. Unfortunately, the band rarely achieves these moments of brilliance.

All in all, Hymnosis is a solid effort with bits of black onyx lighting up through the muck and slime. The gods of darkness should be pleased with Psychotic Gardening’s offering.

Hymnosis, Psychotic Gardening
Hymnosis, Psychotic Gardening
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