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The best kept secret in music


"Alternative Press"

Alternative Press
HQ: Rochester, NY
NOW PLAYING: Ideas Of Reference
THE STORY SO FAR: Formed in 2001 by ex-members of Kalibas, Hate Machine, Low Ton, Within and
Inertia, as well as an unknown guitarist who seems transported from another planet, PsyOpus sound like
the hardest (take that figuratively and literally) math problem you've ever given up trying to solve.
WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW 'EM: Guitarist Chris Arp was a regional winner in Limp Bizkit's 2001
talent search, but don't hold that against him. And don't expect Ideas Of Reference to prepare you for the
even wilder stuff PsyOpus are writing now. "I don't quite know what to call it," says drummer Greg
Herman. "It's guitar gymnastics with a Tony Williams drum influence - classical crack-metal, maybe?"
YOU LIKE? YOU'LL LIKE: Burnt By The Sun, the Dillinger Escape Plan, the End - Aaron Burgess


Psyopus - Ideas of Reference

Blended of grind and metalcore, Psyopus is the musical onomatopoeia of brutal and isolated destruction.
Ridiculous guitar riffs that spurt and flash signs of hair metal soloing with technical drumwork that would
make the best drummers pale with envy. Certainly fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge would
love them but I dare say they have the technical absurdness that would have Mike Patton fans gush. And a
bit of funny trivia would be that their guitarist Chris Arp won the regional Guitar Center contest to be in
Limp Bizkit—I doubt that he could have been in that band as it would have made the rest of the members
look like total goofs. Wicked insane tech-metal with an emphasis on the bizarre; just listen to the opening
guitar noodlings of “Death, i…” I haven’t heard a technically more challenging band than this in a long
time of music appreciation.

- J. Sin


PsyOpus - Ideas Of Reference

If legendary musicians were born today, what would they pursue? Would Buddy Rich attempt to create the
fastest blast beats, rivaling even those of drum machines? Would Jimi Hendrix attempt to front a metal
band and shred like none other? Would Bach sit behind a computer composing epic masterpieces for
ravers to “roll” to? Most “musical legends” had no problem with showing off their talent on the stage,
although “rock champions” such as Van Halen take this to a ground breaking level of moldy cheesiness.
Somehow this is going to segue into PsyOpus and their Ideas Of Reference, which will happen by my
typing these random letters and numbers:


In a sense Ideas Of Reference can be exemplified by listening to the first track on the album, “Mork And
Mindy (Day Dream Lover)”. As listeners, we are greeted with an incoming eruption of chord
manipulations that explode with a very clean finger tapping solo. While we attempt to understand what
we were just thrown into, by brute force, we are launched into a battlefield of what sounds like
pandemonium. After a minute more of this we realize that there is no real chaos, but instead, a very
technically fought assault. The sound constantly evolves, eventually leading us to a jazz influenced drop,
where guitar notes bounce around juggling bass harmonics as drum beats sputter in to keep it from
resembling anything too cohesive. Of course this is all done with irregular timings, more time changes
than Daylight Savings times infinity, and it’s all over the place like a really large person in a small house.
This is in fact the most chaotic/technical album I have ever heard, definitely pushing the barbed wire
boundaries of “tech metal”. The guitars are the definite highlight, but props are given to any bassist and
drummer that can keep up with this madness. Guitar was made plural even though there is only one
guitarist because he recorded more than one track for the album. Just like any type of singing that is
different than what you’ve heard before, the screaming won’t be that easy to stomach at first, kind of like
Mexican tap water. But once you drink enough, the parasites become a part of your digestive system. The
vocals mostly have a shrieking quality to them but occasionally dip into the lower spectrum of things.

When your pupils begin to dilate and sense begins to be made, halfway through “Mirrorism” PsyOpus
fakes you out with a false ending a few times with sputters of finger tapping penetrations. Although there
are exceptions, PsyOpus does not create a heavy sound with palm muting and drop tuning, but without
restrictions of verse-breakdown-verse-breakdown-verse mediocrity they replace any expectations with pure
insanity. The lack of sanity becomes clearly evident in “Imogen's Puzzle”, two minutes of jazzy
guitar/bass sounds illuminated by a sample of people screaming and fires burning. This is what it would
sound like if Django Reinhardt decided to rape and pillage.

So yeah, I’m sure some people say, “These guys are crazy, but sometimes it’s over done.” But man, some
people will also say cocaine isn’t medicinal. Some people like fancy stuff and some don’t. Those that
don’t mind something that is a little out there and requires tons of talent should rock this boat. It’s a
hundred times more listenable than Orthrelm. If any of you rock the six string, at least check Ideas Of
Reference out due to the guitarist's talent - Zed


Psyopus is a musical mindfuck; don't expect to have any idea what the hell is going on the first time you
listen through "Ideas Of Reference". After a couple weeks of digesting this insanity, I will say that
Psyopus have recorded an album whose borderline yet quirky chaos and technical proficiency can contend
with the likes of Dillinger Escape Plan's "Calculating Infinity".

A number of phenominal math/tech metal acts emerged last year, all of whom were plagued with
inevitable Dillinger Escape Plan comparisons. Psyopus is no exception; "Ideas Of Reference" sets a new
standard in mathcore, and will be dismissed by far too many fans as Dillinger Escape Plan ripoffs.
Granted, the Dillinger Escape Plan influence is definitely there. The constant jazzy snare rolls, grindcore
overtones, psychotic high-end fretting and coarse hardcore shouts create an aesthetic very similar to the
mighty DEP. What makes Psyopus truly stand out is their distinct song writing.

The high-end mathcore guitars are the champions of this album. As we've seen with bands like Into The
Moat and Glass Casket, the high-end mathcore guitars are evolving into a melody lead the same way
twin-guitar solos were used with In Flames and Iron Maiden. Psyopus take the notion of lead guitar
melody to new extremes using quirky mathcore fretting. The speed at which they do it is insane; for every
note that a "regular" band would play, these guys will condense a triplet into that same beat. Songs are
extremely spastic and always unpredictable; some guitar leads sound almost theatrical. Listen to the
guitars at 4:25 into "Death, I..." and you'll know what I'm talking about. Other times, the lead guitars
sound extremely animated, like Nintendo on crack. Songs like "Mirrorism" and "Death, I..." have that
goofy Midi-audio feel to them.

There are various breakdowns and chugs throughout this album, including some mind-boggling
polyrhythms. Listen at 2:25 into "Anomily" and 2:00 into "The White Light" to hear Psyopus spinter and
splice rhythms. The constant high-end guitar melodies and spontaneous transitions keep the focus of the
album on chaotic mathcore, rather than developing thick tech-laced chugs, as is the case for bands like
Blood Has Been Shed or A Life Once Lost. Some may feel disappointed that Psyopus don't have a thicker
guitar tone and don't throw in more tech breakdowns, but there's no way you can't appreciate the
schizophrenic song writing.

I cannot stress enough how insane the guitar work is on "Ideas Of Reference". Psyopus make it all sound
so easy and fluid despite mind-numbingly fast fret work; I don't see how it's possible for anyone to move
their fingers that fast. Fans of Ion Dissonance, The End, Dillinger Escape Plan, and anything that boasts
technical proficiency and flirts with chaos will be instant fans of Psyopus. One work review: Mindfuck.
- Smathers


This "tech metal" phrase has been used more and more regularly to describe a growing number of bands
who aren't really worthy of the title. A few off-time riffs and a jazz-inspired guitar runs does not a tech
metal band make. I try to reserve this label for bands whose music is, compositionally and audially,
outrageous enough to make your head spin. Psyopus fit the bill.

Another thing you can count on when a band like this comes along is the customary comparison to the
founders of this sound - Dillinger Escape Plan. And in this regard, I will also follow suit in saying that
Psyopus very much so remind me of the Dillingers. The deranged guitar work sounds so similar, although
the drumming is a little less varied. If I may so, Psyopus may even take things to the next level when it
comes to the antics of guitarist Christopher Arp, known affectionately as Arpmandude - a play on the
name of infamous guitar aficianado Guy Mann-Dude! And this guy should have no problem finding a job
as a video game soundtrack composer following Psyopus' demise, as "Imogen's Puzzle" and the beginning
of "Death, I..." exemplify. Both, but especially the first, tracks sound like they were lifted off an old
Nintendo role-playing game. Of course, they also partially display Arp's efficiency at both the guitar itself
and writing absurd, backwards, off-kilter music. The rest of the album help that out as well. There are so
many bands that half-ass this style and very few who do it well. Psyopus belong to the latter group. "Ideas
Of Reference" is the type of album you don't even try to understand - you just submit to it.

- danowar


Remember when you fingerbanged your cousin at that barbeque in '97? So does she. And I hope it was worth it, because now, you're going to hell, so you better start preparing yourself. Sun tan lotion is a must, and I would start getting used to eternal agony by giving yourself paper cuts and charlie horses. Another essential is Psyopus' "Ideas of Reference," because I have no doubt that it's rockin' the speakers of hell's corridors like Kenny G rocks the corridors of your local Boscov's.

Some history: Well before the existence of "Snapple Facts," innovative bands like Cynic paved the way for the now-common musical genre that has come to be referred to as "technical metal." After a few bands did it well, a thousand other yahoos with pawn shop guitars decided that they too could fingertap, play blast beats, produce "death-growls," or what have you. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these individuals were sadly mistaken, and made music that sounds more like early "stinking, talentless shit" than early Meshuggah.

Let's take a few rules that these terrible bands should have lived by, and see if Psyopus "does the right thing:"

1.) "If you can't play it well, don't attempt to play it."
- There is no doubt that Psyopus can hang with the best of 'em, and that these guitarrists have certainly sacrificed more than a few keggers and dates with Mary Joe to work on their Lydian Diminished scales. In fact, a little birdie told me that guitarrist Chris Arp was one of the winners of Guitar Center's "Guitarmageddon" contest, and also the regional winner of the "Join Limp Biskit" Contest. These facts alone prove the lad's worth as a shredmaster. The skill doesn't stop with Chris, however; this band has the chops in every department.

The shred is packed on thick, boys and girls. If the money-fret leads and spastic finger acrobatics were used any less, it might seem that they were used too often...but it's such an CONSTANT, that it becomes the very basis of the music. The album opens with a fade in (yes, a fade in...that alone takes some balls) to an atonal, nervous riff, which immediately slams into a relentless flurry of instrumental attacks. Only with the beginning of the 7th track does the assault relax, as the guitars go clean for a brief avant-garde polyrythmic etude, that seems to boast a bit of classical knowledge.

2.) "Just because you CAN play it well, doesn't mean you have to."
- People aren't buying "the chance to listen to talent/skill," they're buying "songs." A lot of bands take five riffs that basically say, "look what I can do," and claim that it's a song. Some of these bands are somehow doing pretty well for themselves; I won't name names. Psyopus seems to have as mature a grasp on this idea as they possibly can, given the nature of the music that they're attempting to create. Of most of the bands that people will surely insist Psyopus is ripping off, these guys are one of the best at making "songs," with themes and order, rather than a zany combination of unrelated riffs.

All in all, this is mature, well-played, well-arranged music...truly a feat for a young band playing intense, violent metal. All in all, maybe hell won't be so bad. A must have for fans of Daughters, Between the Buried and Me, The Red Chord, the Dillinger Escape Plan, etc. - xGARMOTHx


It’s no real secret that editors at indie music magazines have a hard time assigning metalcore and grind records. While the writers at specialty publications like Vampire Magazine and Metal Injection may wax philosophic over the latest Commit Suicide release, most music scribes will huddle under a pile of Luomo and Clientele CDs until the editor’s hand passes and they can exhale and wait patiently for the next DFA or Kompakt release.

Editors who feel obligated to assign these releases usually slip them in with a pile of friendlier records, ensuring groans from critics reluctant to touch something so far out on an unfamiliar genre’s fringe. Like the most blunted rap, the most avant-garde jazz and the most ambient electronica, the extreme reaches of hardcore and metal can be unfathomable for general-interest critics.

This is why an album like Psyopus’ Ideas of Reference is such an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Although I occasionally enjoy listening to metal and hardcore as I jump around and hurl expensive vases at my mom’s cats, it’s a rare experience; my exposure to the genre is limited to some Hydra Head and Chicago groups from the late ‘90s.

But Ideas of Reference scatters metalcore’s calling cards before a whirlwind of guitars and a blustery rhythm section. Breaking up attack waves with noodle guitar codas and eerie prog-carnival music, the band rips through nine blistering tracks without letting up. The high point is at the two minute mark of "Death, i…" when the beat drops out and guitars suddenly turn upward to raise their voices at this brief crack in the storm. It’s simply amazing.

Ideas of Reference is remarkable because while it does hurtle into the extremes, it is firmly grounded in solid structures with an intelligent sense of sonic craft. It is by no means easily accessible to those unfamiliar with the genre, but should prove remarkable to anyone with an open mind.
- Erick Bieritz


Ideas Of References
(Black Market)
If the great Frank Zappa were to have smoked herculean quantities of mind-wrntching crack, I am guessing something similar to this musical jungle-gym may have been the end product. Rochester, NY's vile bastard sons swirl and blastbeat their way through a sense- numbing album that has more unexpected time changes than the O'Hare airport. Punishing hardcore vocals courtesy of the perfidious throat strecher Adam Frappolli and spastic musical calisthenics flog you with the force of NY's finest conducting a rather unceremonious cavity search. The embarassing end result is the same: telling your ever-soothing-mommy about the badmen and a profusely bleeding and bruised poopchute that sickeningly winks in swollen smirch.

As musically competent as Psyopus are, the continuous barrage of doodling and the savage guitar masterbation of Christopher Arp left my ruptured braincave a swirling unthinking wreck, which may be just the consequences that 'Pus-posse may be shooting for. If unrelenting, cacophonous grindcore and raw, aggressive hardcore attitude float your moldering and quickly submerging dinghy, then tracks like "Imogen's Puzzle", "Long Road To The 4th Dimension" and "White LIght" are just the life-perserving bondo putty you need to keep that paddleship in tip-top shape. But for us landlovers, I'll keep my feet firmly planted on the sandy soil, thanks.
- Rufus Blisters


Psyopus is a Rochester, NY based quartet whose static structures provide sonic salvation for those that crave experimental metal. IDEAS OF REFERENCE liberally borrows from bands like Candiria, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Mr. Bungle, yet the guys in the band strive (and succeed) to go a step further by making the extremes a bit more extreme than expected. For example, take "Death, i...", a jazzy improv number from the onset that turns itself into a screaming, chaotic speed metal grindfest. The rest of the nine-track album follows suit, as Psyopus throws convention out the window and meshes the craziest parts of extreme metal together for an uneasy, yet undeniably interesting listen.
- Mike SOS


Blackmarket Records
Psychotic art-core/death metalers, PSYOPUS have taken a respectful shot at a newer genre with their CD titled, "Ideas of Reference." Since this particular genre (or more accurately, sub-genre) is in the opening stages of it's existence, the rules and standards are absent, which provides a band like this with all the latitude they need to create music that is limitless in scope. It was evident that they took full advantage of this open canvas of music and painted it with splatters of jazzy interludes and abstract expressionalism with the likes of CANDIRA in mind but with the sinister ruthlessness of a death metal scheme. The emblazoned speed entrenched portions break the sound barrier with decisive lead guitar hooks that usually become synchronized with masticating base lines and crashing double base speed metal drumming. Although it seems like the instruments have moments when they are fighting, they are actually building upon the counter movements, creating a sensation of anxiety and spontaneity. This is where the term psychotic applies. As a parting shot to this anarchic orchestration, the antagonistic vocals howl, scream and dare you to listen. All told, not a bad CD but right brain thinkers would probably benefit more from this release than the common metal fan. - Brodie Holmen


-2004 "Ideas of Reference" LP
Blackmarket Activities/ Metal Blade

-2003 demo


Feeling a bit camera shy


Stemming from the diabolic metal scene of Rochester, NY - the birthplace of such exaggerated sounds as Kalibas, Sulaco and Lethargy - comes the mathcore extremists known as Psyopus. This project's conception was formed during the fall of 2002 by the unorthodox guitar work of Christopher "Arpmandude" Arp, Rochester's regional winner of 2001's Limp Bizkit Guitarist Search, and the technical absurdness of grind drummer Greg Herman. Finalizing the line up with bass player virtuoso Fred DeCoste and the "in your face" antics of vocalist Adam Frapolli, PsyOpus have become an intrinsic formula for sonically unyielding violence and insanity. Composed of bi-polar dynamics, radical arrangements, avant-garde instrumentation and a melting force of pure speed, Psyopus set out to destroy the molds of extreme metal with unprecedented attitude and conviction. Judge for yourself by means of their debut release "Ideas of Reference" out on Black Market Activities.