Psycroptic - Initiation [DVD] (Stomp Entertainment)

Are you ready to be initiated into the world of Psycroptic? The Australian tech-death metallers release their first official DVD release, Initiation. It features a killer live show and lots bonus features and antics that will please their legions of fans.

It is amazing how big Tasmanian death metallers Psycroptic have become around the world, with their relentless touring and hard work - rewarded by a signing to Nuclear Blast. Their live shows are quite a spectacle and leave many people in awe at their technical abilities.

Recorded on December 20th, 2008 at The HiFi Bar in Melbourne, Australia on their headlining Australian Ob(Servant) tour, the 60+ minute set shows Psycroptic performing in front of an purely insane and rabid crowd, one which feeds off every note from the start to finish.

The set is comprised of 12 songs, one from every album in their career: from both the Chalky era - Carnival Of Vulgarity, The Sword Of Uncreation, Lacertine Forest, Skin Coffin, and The Colour Of Sleep; to the Peppiatt era, with inclusions like A Horde In Devolution, Ob(Servant), A Calculated Effort, Initiate and Merchants Of Deceit.

As always, Psycroptic are a well oiled machine. Guitarist Joe Haley lays down some complex fretwork that would make most guitarists' fingers tie in knots, bassist Cameron Grant holds down the low end while keeping up with Joe's complex guitar lines, drummer Dave Haley proves with the greatest of ease why he is considered Australia's best drummers in metal with his insane footwork and crazy fills. Vocalist Jason Peppiatt storms the stage with his powerful and dominant growling/shouting, while keeping the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Visually, Initiation is extremely well done, utilising a multi-camera shoot with well-paced editing. The lighting is dark but typical of most metal DVDs, without being pitch black. There are plenty of up-close guitar and drum-cam shots for the Dave Haley drumming afficianados, as well as of the guitarists for the budding air musicians in many of us.

From an audio perspective, Initiation has a two-channel stereo mix. This is good and bad. The positive side is that every little nuance was captured on stage and sounds excellent. The downside to the audio is in two aspects - firstly, the absence of a 5.1 surround sound mix is a little bit disappointing, because it would have killed; the other is that, despite the audio being 100% live, it sounds too clean during the songs. A little bit of crowd mixed in would have given it a little bit more of a live feel, even though the crowd seems to pop through inbetween songs. The instruments sound great, with the exception of the snare, which falls a little bit flat. The latter, however, is just a minor detail that doesn't destract from the killer peformance.

The extras on Inititation include a 20+ minute on-the-road documentary, home and abroad, with lots of crazy stuff - such as smoking from a bong made out of a Didgeridoo, pissing out of car windows, and many more drunken antics. The extras include guest appearances from fellow touring bands such as Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel that will keep you in stitches; an extensive drum and guitar (and brief bass) gear tour for all the gear nerds out there; their video clip for Initiate; and a look into the band's home life in Tasmania: a bit about where the band began, a day with Jason, his daughter and the band at a local park, a look into the studio where most of Psycroptic's albums have been recorded, and the hilariously titled Bongs And Burnouts. On top of all of this, you also score a bonus audio CD of the live show, so you can enjoy it without being in front of your tv.

If you are a fan, hardcore or not, purchasing this DVD is highly recommended. Casual fans and newcomers should also check this out, as it is a great introduction to these Australian tech death metal kings.

Psycroptic's Initiation DVD is out now through Stomp Entertainment.