8 Songs, 39 Minutes


About Psychotogen

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 tempos frequently, and their approach to underground death metal is more black metal than grindcore -- a true grindcore band wouldn't have as many tempo changes as Psychotogen (whose direct or indirect influences have ranged from Death to Slayer to Obituary). Psychotogen even offers melodic passages here and there, some of which hint at progressive rock. The band was formed in 1999, when drummer Chris Pernia (formerly of the East Coast band Pessimist) joined forces with guitarist Mike Baron. After some more Baltimore-based headbangers came on board -- including bassist Tony Pernia and guitarist Jeremy Grande -- the band started calling itself Excathedra. That original lineup recorded a demo and played at the Milwaukee Metal Fest in 2000; when Baron left the band during the fall of that year, Excathedra officially changed their name to Psychotogen. In 2001, the band recorded their first full-length album, Perverse and Unnatural Practices, which was released independently on Bring Out Your Dead Records. In 2002, the headbangers formerly known as Excathedra signed with Crash Music, a very metal-friendly label that is based in Phoenix, AZ, and run by producer Mark Nawara (formerly of the Chicago-based Red Light Records). After remastering and reissuing Perverse and Unnatural Practices, Crash Music released Psychotogen's second official album, The Calculus of Evil, in 2003. On that CD, the band's post-Baron lineup consisted of Mike Harrison on lead vocals, Tony Pernia on bass, Jeremy Grande on guitar, and Chris Pernia on drums and keyboards. Psychotogen's Mike Harrison -- who favors the sort of demonic, growling, larynx-ripping vocal style that death metal, black metal and grindcore are known for -- should not be confused with the radio star of the same name, who was a well-known DJ at Los Angeles' KMET-FM in the late '70s and early '80s (before the station abandoned its album-oriented rock format, changed its call letters, and became a new age/smooth jazz/adult contemporary station known as "the Wave"). ~ Alex Henderson

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