This French band’s third album has caused me no end of consternation since I received it for review a while back, not because it is spectacular good or dreadful. The album title relates to the technique of applying light and shade to artwork which meant I was expecting songs with varying sonic hues, but instead was beaten to a pulp, which isn’t a bad thing I know within death metal. The band’s first two albums leant heavily on a mechanised brutal death metal bombardment typified by acts like, Begrime Exemious, Krisiun, Aum etc but with both releases being five years apart and this third being released a further four years after the sophomore, death metal has moved onward and upward pushing the envelope ever further forward into new more experimental realms.

The bands third album isn’t poor by any means, but it does lack variation, as the 12 songs are extremely similar to each other but if you want your death metal to beat you remorselessly into a bloody mush then Psychobolia will do exactly that. This is a no frills album that opens with “Feast Of Pills” as a blitzing drum assault cascades from the song giving all the songs that Krisiun mechanised warlike cannonade. The opening riff to “Oxygen” hints at a different direction only for it to be saturated in a pyroclastic flow of drums that under normal circumstances I would absolutely adore but they just obliterate the riffing masking it underneath the chaotic nature of the song writing. There is an insatiable pandemonium to the album as the tracks fly by like a relentless bombing raid as “Altar”, “Self-Obliteration” and “Crimson Abysses” sailed by without me even noticing the track numbers had changed if I’m honest.

The title track offers something a little different with catchy riff that is pulverised into extinction by the bass and drums that punches its way back in despite the outright violence and psychotic speed on display. “Killing Void” is utterly demented, with rabid vocals and here the speed and that warlike nature works brilliantly and links nicely into “Silent Mistakes” which has a good contrast in speed by slowing down a tad even if it is momentarily. Psychobolia are not about to change the world with technical dexterity but what they do extremely well is bludgeon you with sledgehammer drumming, pile-driving bass, hacking riffs and vocals that could strip paint and for a lot of death metal fans this is enough but for some variation is needed and that is my main criticism. My score reflects that this is a brutal death metal album and you won’t find many as brutal or as well played as this which makes it worth checking out.

(7/10 Martin Harris)