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The Calculus of Evil

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Album Review

At death metal concerts, one can tell a lot about a band's musical outlook by the way people in the mosh pit react. A grindcore band that plays at a consistently fast tempo can keep the pit going full blast, whereas death metal/black metal combos that frequently change tempos can send a pit into overdrive one minute and slow it down to a snail-like crawl the next. Clearly, Psychotogen falls into the latter category. Calculus of Evil has enough high-speed brutality to keep moshers happy, but Psychotogen likes to slow things down quite often and even offers some melodic passages here and there. So if the Baltimore-based outfit played this album in its entirety during a live show, one would see a mosh pit operating at different levels of intensity — there would be times when the moshers went berserk and times when they took a breather and awaited the next onslaught of dense, ferocious, violent, hammer-to-the-skull cruelty (with the sort of demonic, growling vocals one usually expects from death metal). While Psychotogen's work is far from mainstream, Calculus of Evil has way too many twists and turns to be considered grindcore — Psychotogen's death metal is clearly of the black metal variety, not the grindcore variety. And some of the melodic passages even hint at progressive rock; perhaps there should be more of them. Calculus of Evil (which contains a hidden track at the end that turns out to be an inspired cover of Judas Priest's "All Guns Blazing") certainly isn't the only album of its kind; there are countless other death metal/black metal units with this type of approach. But those who have a taste for extreme metal will find it to be an enjoyably exhilarating, if less than distinctive dose of sensory assault.


Formed: 1999 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Originally known as Excathedra, Psychotogen is a brutal, ferocious, skull-smashing death metal/black metal band that has been around the Baltimore, MD scene since the late '90s. Psychotogen isn't the sort of death metal combo that likes to play at the same breakneck tempo all of the time; they have no problem playing at ultra-fast tempos, but unlike some of the people in the extreme metal field, they don't play at that breakneck speed 100 percent of the time. The East Coast outfit prefers to change...
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The Calculus of Evil, Psychotogen
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