Psycroptic is an Australian technical death metal band. Characterized by Joe Haley's instantly recognizable guitar style and their winding, highly riff-focused songs, they have managed to work their way up to the top of the pack in their home country in addition to being a well-known act abroad.
Formed in Hobart, Tasmania in 1999 by Matthew "Chalky" Chalk (vocals), Joe Haley (guitars), Cameron Grant (bass), and Dave Haley (drums), the band initially spent a year or so perfecting their craft before self-releasing The Isle of Disenchantment, their debut full-length, around the beginning of 2001. The album made a surprisingly large splash both in Australia and abroad, and after multiple shows and fests throughout Australia, they self-released a second full-length, Scepter of the Ancients, in 2003. The album was met with a great deal of acclaim from numerous sources, and greater exposure was provided by Unique Leader Records, who helped distribute the album in the US and Europe. Multiple full Australian tours followed, and by 2004, they were ready to embark on their first European tour with Dismember and Anata. Chalk, however, did not feel comfortable with going on such a large tour, and Jason Peppiatt volunteered to fill in for the tour. After that tour was over, Chalk wound up leaving due to an increasingly acrimonious relationship with the rest of the band, and Peppiatt was inducted in full-time. The band signed a deal with Neurotic Records sometime around then as well, and Symbols of Failure, their debut with the label, was released in 2006. Another European excursion with Nile followed, and after multiple tours and fests, the band signed with Nuclear Blast in 2008 and released Ob(Servant) that same year, in addition to embarking on their first US tour by way of the Summer Slaughter. More touring followed along with the release of Initiation, their first live DVD, in 2010, followed by the release of The Inherited Repression around the beginning of 2012. Things have stayed stable for a while, and the band is currently recording a new full-length and has already released a single from it.
- The Isle of Disenchantment (2001)
- Scepter of the Ancients (2003)
- Symbols of Failure (2006)
- Ob(Servant) (2008)
- Initiation (2010) - live DVD
- The Inherited Repression (2012)
- Echoes to Come (2014) - single
- Psycroptic (2015)
- As the Kingdom Drowns (2018)
- The Watcher of All (2020) (EP)
- Divine Council (2022)
NOTHING EVER BELONGED TO US, FOR WE WERE JUST THE TROPERS!:
- Ascended Extra: Todd Stern started out as a live fill-in before the band (and particularly Cam) pushed to have him join full-time, as Cam was not able to meet any sort of commitment with the band by the end. This was also true for Jason Peppiatt, as he was a childhood friend of Cam's who regularly attended their shows and was already a close associate well before he joined; when Chalk left, Cam almost instantly proposed that he join and pushed for it to happen.
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: The Haley brothers are or have been in three other separate bands together, and that's not even counting the acts that they're not in together. Chalk, meanwhile, has nine different groups on his resume, with Spawn of Possession being the most famous.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Chalk, apparently.
- Epic Rocking: "Initiate" comes out on top at 8:00; aside from that, there's "The Scepter of Jaar-Gilon" (6:32), "A Calculated Effort" (6:30), "Carriers of the Plague" (6:07), "Slaves of Nil" (6:01), "Removing the Common Bond", and "Psycroptipath" (6:00 each).
- The Fifth Ranger: Jason Keyser; while Origin is still his main band, he has been the main on-call live fill-in for Psycroptic since 2015, and has been touring with the band for so long that he is effectively an unofficial member, up to recording a substantial amount of the vocals on Divine Council.
- Land Down Under: From Hobart, and probably also one of the most famous death metal acts from Australia, if not the most famous.
- Lead Bassist: Todd Stern is a Type C, as he is a well-known face in many parts of the music business and is known for his prolific appearances on tour as a jack-of-all-trades. Put it simply, if you play metal or hardcore and you tour a lot, there's a good chance that you know Todd.
- Long Runner Lineup: Type 2 from 2005 to 2018, when Cameron Grant formally left after a prolonged period of inactivity.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Matthew Chalk could go from a low, almost burp-like gurgle akin to that of Antti Boman of Demilich all the way to a high shriek in addition to everything between. In his other bands, he's demonstrated that he's quite a good clean vocalist as well.
- Metal Scream: Chalk was a mix of Type 2 and Type 3, while Peppiatt is a Type 1 who can pull off Type 2 gutturals but seldom does nowadays.
- Motor Mouth: One of Chalk's specialties.
- New Sound Album: Ob(Servant) was much simpler overall and focused far more on groove.
- Signature Style: A seemingly-endless array of winding, spidery riffs that make heavy use of economy and hybrid picking and legato with a very distinctive guitar tone with minimal gain, along with a large amount of blasting and rapid-fire vocals. Solos are exceedingly uncommon; a few do exist, but the amount of solos that Joe Haley has done in the entirety of Psycroptic's career can be measured in the single digits, and Word Of God is that Joe generally hates playing solos and usually has to be talked into playing one by the rest of the band.
- Special Guest: Zdenek Simicek (Godless Truth, also the founder of Lacerated Enemy Records) filled in for Peppiatt on their 2010 North American tour with Nile, as Peppiatt had just had a child and needed to sit out the tour in order to take care of them, while Jason Keyser and Lochlan Watt (Colossvs) have been filling in on various tours from the mid-10s onwards. That was also the job of Todd Stern and Sam Guy on a live basis before the former formally took Cameron Grant's spot in 2018, as Grant had not been able to play live for years.
- Technical Death Metal: Less in-your-face than most examples and based largely around Joe Haley's extremely unorthodox and unique riffing style, which just so happens to also be extremely complex.
- Uncommon Time: Very, very common, especially given the way that Joe's riffs tend to be structured.
- Vocal Tag Team: Jason Peppiatt and Keyser have this dynamic on Divine Council, as Keyser recorded vocals throughout the album to trade off lines with Peppiatt.
- We Are The Band: The Haley brothers.