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Experimental/Post Metal • Italy

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Psychofagist biography
Formed in 1999 at the city of Novara, region of Piedmont, Italy, by Stefano (guitarist and vocalist) and Marcello (bassist and vocalist), PSYCHOFAGIST was meant to be, from the start, an extreme metal band. In their first three years of existence, the band recorded a three-track promotional demo CD with a session drummer in order to get their music known in the Italian and European metal scenes.

As their music evolved, between 2002 and 2003, they were spotted by Masakatsu, from the Japanese label Amputated Vein Records, who produced the band's first release: a split CD, entitled Selfless Spite, together with the Belgian grindcore band Hybrid Viscery.

By mid-2003 drummer Fiamma joined the duo and further musical growth happened and the following months after the addition of another band member were spent finding a common ground and musical understanding. This led to the composition of new songs and a deal signature with the Italian label Subordinate Productions & Distribution. With a record deal, PSYCHOFAGIST made their debut album become a reality in July of 2004. The band's self-titled album was recorded in 10 days in the Starstruck Studios, Copenhagen. By the time of the debut's release, the band's music could already be classified as "avant grindcore".

During the next three years following the release of the debut, PSYCHOFAGIST remained quiet studio-wise, until their appearance in the split CD "A Bullet Sound The Same (In Every Language)" together with the bands oVo and Inferno. 2007 also saw the departure of Fiamma from the band due to personal reasons, resulting on the recruitment of a new band member, Frederico, AKA El Ducaconte, and the development and composition of new music. The following year, 2008, saw the release of their third split album, entitled "Raiz Diabolica", and the establishment of the band's signature sound.

That year also brought another significant line-up change to the band: Luca Mai, ZU's saxophonist, joined the ranks of PSYCHOFAGIST and brought the final piece to the evolution of the band's sound. With that formation (bass, guitar, drums, saxophone and two vocalists), PSYCHOFAGIST entered the studios to record an EP, entitled "The Optician", released in 2009. That same year also saw the release of the PSYCHOFAGIST's second studio album, called "Il Secondo Tragico", cementing PSYCHOFAGIST as a presence to be noticed in the Italian avant metal scene.

Biography by CCVP, edited from the band's ...
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PSYCHOFAGIST discography

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PSYCHOFAGIST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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3.87 | 4 ratings
Il Secondo Tragico
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Songs Of Faint And Distortion

PSYCHOFAGIST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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Selfless Spite
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A Bullet Sounds the Same (In Every Language)
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Raiz Diabolica
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9 Psalms Of An Antimusic To Come (split with Antigama)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il Secondo Tragico by PSYCHOFAGIST album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.87 | 4 ratings

Il Secondo Tragico
Psychofagist Experimental/Post Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Extreme avant jazz metal done how it is supposed to be

Many people (or should I say most?) dislike avant music and I find that very understandable. Avant-garde music (as well as any avant form in general) usually disregard conventions and strive for things that the majority of people, practically everybodyactually, either find completely repulsive, distasteful or even offensive; all of these opinions are for me, personally, are quite understandable and may even be pursued by some artists in order to attain some degree of attention. Other artists, on the other hand, just want to do things differently, using musical instruments in a strange way or writing music with the sole objetcive of making it sound divorced from what everything does.

This last case is the case with Psychifagist. Hailing from Northern Italy, the extreme avant metal band has been struggling within the scene for over a decade now. Starting as a technical death metal/grindcore band, they released their first album in 2004 (the brevissimo but very powerful self-titled release) still as a technical metal band. The debut, however, already had some hints of their future direction (such as having song titles refferencing to King Crimson). Over the course of the next half decade, they drastically improved and gave many layers to their style, eventually writing enough impressively new material to record Il Secondo Tragico.

Now, their second relese, the one this review is about, is not so very far away from the debut. They are still an extreme metal band with a style that navigates between death metal and grindcore. This time around, though, they have added enough new elements to their music to make it actually sound genuinely new, innovative.

But what makes Secondo Tragico so different from the debut album if they are both striding a similar road along the extreme metal lineage? As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, they have presented the listeners of Secondo Tragico with new elements, most proeminently the undeniable jazz unfluence, which appears in mostly every song. Mind you, the jazz element is not exclusive of the three types of saxophone used here, (played by the group's official guitarrist, Stefano Ferrian, but mostly by Zu's saxophonist Luca T Mai) , but also the guitars and specially the drums showcase such influence. Other experimentations are made here as well with electronics, sinthesizers and tapes, making it clear that the band does strives for making new things in music.

Another welcoming change that came to grace us in Secondo Tragico is the overall improvement of songwriting and a more focused approach they chose to have in their second, and so far latest, album. First, addressing the improvement in sonwriting, they have become much more interesting and impressive as a whole and less predictable as in their las labum, as well as bringing new things to the table, as adressed previously.

Second, even though Psychofagist music definitively CANNOT be labeled as organized or even even very focused, due to their chaotic (and sometimes random) playing style and the aggressive and broad use of dissonance the do, Secondo's music has a clear sense of direction, in spite of it being apparently inexsitent. The band knows exactly where to go and how to move and develop their chaotic sound, much like the Canadian avant metallers of Unexpect do.

Another cool thing for me about this album is how they don't tke themselves too seriously. Examples of this are scatered throughout the album, but it is the most visible in the last song, Free-Non-Jazz Powerviolence Sonata.

The last intrinsically good positive point about this album I would like to talk about is the album's length. One thing that greatly displeases me in avant music in general is that many artists and groups have no sense of opportunity and just dump everything they have in an album. Putting every last bit of material, specially something as abbrasive as this, on most times is not something appropriate because it tires the listener. So, unless you release an album that is absolutely flawless (as did Unexpect, in two instances!), you should keep it short, concentrating the best songs you have, which is what Psychofagist did here. That not only made their album more enjoyable (since you can give the propper attention to every song on the album), but also made it easier to digest. Most importantly, Psychofagist does not wast our time with fillers, what is something I value greatly in music in general.

Rating and Final Thoughts

To bands like this, it is hard to make a conclusive ending to a review because they sound so different. I could always point similarities with Ephel Duath and Unexpect, but in both instances the comparison would be flawed because, even though the bands cited are avant and, specially in the case of Ephel Duath, add elements of jazz to their compositions, it is jsut not the same. The level of intensity Psychofagist has and their raw power, probably driven by the grindcore part of their music, they have makes the band rather unique. The musical quagmire that is the music they put out does not makes it easier as well.

I can point out, however, that this album is excellent in many instances, the most important pointed previously. If you want a crazy, innovative and impressive avant metal group, that merges death metal, grindcore, experimental extreme metal and jazz, give it a try, put Psychofagist on your CD player.

Thanks to CCVP for the artist addition.

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