That's Outrageous! - Psycho
Record Label: InVogue Records
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Before I dive into this album review there are some things you should know. This album was almost never made due to many setbacks this band has been through over the year, after losing their singer, then their screamer leaving to join Woe, Is Me. Then after the member instability their label (Rise Records) drops them, they return with with the old (significantly skinnier) singer Tom, a signing to InVogue Records and out comes this amazing release. I for one am proud to say I was a That's Outrageous! fan from before the release of Teenage Scream. So now without any more delays here is my review of Psycho.
It's very rare for an album to reflect its title, and even rarer yet it one that perfectly exemplifies the very definition of the word. Psycho, That's Outrageous!'s sophomore release, is one of those rare albums that does just that. The catchy choruses, heavy breakdowns, and synth that's comparable to Mike Spearman (Jamie's Elsewhere) or Caleb Shomo (Attack Attack!) , is all back with greater skill and passion that I haven't heard in quite a long time. This is the best "synthcore" albums I've heard in quite a long time, it brings the heavy side of metalcore while also bringing the synth that you might find in a rave scene in a perfect balance that I haven't heard before.
The first line of the album, "Nothing's worth my time, Besides the blood lust in my mind" shrieks in right after a creepy intro that sounds straight out of a horror movie, on top of the fastest beats heard on the album, as well as some of the best drum fills. This track sums up what is to be expected throughout this album, fast breakdowns, choruses that would make a hipster trololol bot sing along, and some serious synth lines that sound straight from the club without being over bearing. The breakdowns at times don't even sound like breakdowns with the amount of ambient sounds as a backdrop, it definitely gives a different feel to a breakdown that would otherwise sound dull and stale.
One of the best things about this album is the amount of talent at work in the album production side as well as instrument side. Its actually one of the things that sets Psycho apart from Teenage Scream in a lot of ways. Psycho's choruses have synthy overtones and the verses seems to always have something going on in the background, whether its the sound of a prison siren, or a girls screech in the background, there's never a dull moment in Psycho. While in Teenage Scream almost none of that was present. It seems as if the tamed beast was unleashed in Psycho that was locked in a cage in Teenage Scream. Although these background sections can muddy up the mix which only happens once on the album, but it happens on one of the best choruses in the album, see Paging Patrick Bateman.
The best way to start an album off is with a great foundation, and Mike Ehmann brings his drumming skills to the fore front on Psycho with some amazing fill's I haven't heard since Woe, Is Me's first album Number[s]. Next up is guitarist Jonah Telyas, he brings ferocity to almost every track, this can be heard on the title track Psycho and on Stranger Danger, the only thing lacking on the guitar end of things is the absence of lead guitars during most of the album, although the synth on most of the tracks make up for the lack of lead guitar, it would still be nice to hear some leads every once in awhile. All of this is happening while Tom DeGrazia and John Easterly sing and scream their hearts out respectively. To wrap it up in a synthy wrapper made by Tom DeGrazia
This doesn't mean Psycho is flawless in any way, the lyrics sometimes seems repulsive just to sound psychotic, and more often than not the songs contain the same message, but it's done in such a way that's tolerable but not noticeable until close inspection. It also has its hand full of why'd they do that? moments, an example of this is at the end of the title track it transitions right into an instrumental that sounds misplaced, although it gives the listener a break from the raging fast pace of the album and also keeps the album from sounding like a sole breakdown album (which its far from). One of the best and worst things in the album is the two dancy rave songs, Vyance Trance and Home Invasion 101, put in between some of the highest energy and heaviest songs of the album. Although it gives the listener a break from the ferocity that is Psycho!
Which brings me to how this album is vastly different from, say an I See Stars album, it gets very heavy and br00tal, while also keeping their synthy overtones. Flatliners is the perfect example of what sets That's Outrageous! apart from any other synthcore/metalcore band out there. It's the perfect balance of heavy br00tal breakdowns and rave dance music, it's also one of the best songs on the album in every category.
All in all this album from front to back has its ups and its downs, its downright hair raising moments and its dance along to the beat mentality. It's definitely one of the best (if not the best) synthcore releases to date.