Halfway through the holiday season and we’re gearing up to kick 2019’s ass on all fronts here at the #IntoThePitUniverse! To help close out our album reviews for 2018, we’re going to rewind a couple years ago to the release of one of the most brutal death metal album’s that’s come across my speakers since I’ve been here. Describing it as “dark” would be an understatement and listeners of the LP would probably agree. The album was spawned by the South African slam metal band, Vulvodynia. Their sophomore LP, Psychosadistic Design was released mid-summer of 2006 showcasing 14 tracks of the heaviest, grungiest, most sadistic tracks you’ll ever hear. Distributed under Lacerated Enemy Records, the follow up to their debut album created a successful ripple that extended their reach well into to fans in the U.S and other metal embracing markets. It’s time for the breakdown of Vulvodynia’s, Psychosadistic Design in true #IntoToThePit fashion.
Let’s dive in.
Production for Psychosadistic Design was truly fitting of it’s name. The title-named intro track sets a horrific stage for what’s about to ensure for listeners of the project. Voiceovers from the actors were fairly believable and with a cinematic touch of exaggeration. The instrumentation of the tracks to follow rarely took time to rest and if there was an instrument break for all parties involved there would be some daunting or sadistic vocal clip from various pieces of cinema. All great additions to the album if you ask me. The audio samples added a level of production value to the over all project and provided room for the listeners ears to revive from the slamming metal raping your ears.
The movie samples and clips were the only major growth I heard musically for the group on the project. Riffs, breakdowns, transitions, and solos stacked up similarly to their debut album which happens more often for bands than not. Some growth is always better than none in my opinion. Vocals were performed with 100% commitment which allowed for the performance to come off genuinely wicked. A lyric sheet was required simply due to parts of the vocal performance being hard to understand at times. Even with the lyrics in front of me, it was difficult to make out phrases which never helps connect the listener to the lyrics and the message of the music. The project was light on guitar solos which is common for the genre but it would’ve been nice to hear some screeching guitar licks matching the screams of the victims throughout the album. Drum performances sounded quality, but were often repetitive to a fault. Regardless most runs were showcased proficiently from front to back of the album. As a whole, the album’s production was solid yet safe taking into context their previous album.
Production Score: 3.6/5
Into The Mix:
Mix wise, Psychosadistic Design was delivered with an appropriate mix for a 2 year old band. There wasn’t much growth to be heard in comparison to their debut album, Cognizant Castigation but the essential elements of mixing was achieved. Guitars and bass sounded clean and wide which catered a lot towards to presence of the melodic elements of the music. Rhythmic elements of the drum set were mixed to taste as well although the kick at times sounded robotic on longer 16th note deliveries. Vocal equalization and compression sounded great, but the reverbs and effects attached were lacking as a whole. Automated decays, filter effects, and stereo placement are the little things that can take a mix from good to killer. The mix would be considered “good”, but the early stages of good. The bright side to that statement is that there’s plenty of room to get better mixes of future records. Luckily the band is still young and have plenty of time to lock in their sonics.
Mix Score: 3.6/5
A Mastered Experience:
Having been on both ends of the mastering process, there’s one thing that I look for when critiquing a mastered record or project..
Can I listen to this project from top to bottom and it sound cohesive all the way through?
Does this horrific compilation of sonic defilement sound cohesive from start to finish? Like it’s debut counterpart, I would say absolutely it does. Vulvodynia’s mastering team does a competent job of having their albums sound consistent sonically from track to track. As a preference, the album could use more low-end support but on most listening systems the low-frequency response is ideal. I just prefer to feel as though the earth is about to break open on the heavier sections of the project. The only time high frequencies even attempt to poke out are during samples and cinema clips that have their own master on them. That wouldn’t be the mastering engineers fault but it does throw off the wall of compression mastering creates. Regardless, the master on this album achieved industry standards which is a good feat especially for a sophomore release.
Master Score: 3.7/5
Psychosadistic Design could be considered for the sound track of any Rob Zombie film, or any film that showcases the gory crevasses of existence for that matter. 14 tracks of demented, and cinematically twisted sounds, and the fans of the genre are eating it up, as they should. I remain open minded to artistry of this nature. Think of it like watching a scary movie with a blackened tv screen. Vulvodynia as a band does a good job of taking the listeners into their sadistic musical realm to torment them with bone chilling motifs and breakdowns while simultaneously gaining a new fan in the process. If that isn’t Stockholm syndrome at it’s finest, I’m unsure of what is. It takes a lot of commitment to the craft to spawn these performances and soundscapes. This level of dedication gives me the feeling that Vulvodynia’s artistry while continue to expand vastly as more flock to their that musical slaughter. In closing, congratulations to Vulvodynia’s 2nd successful album release as well as Lacerated Enemy Records for spearheading the project.
Into The Pit Score: 3.6/5
Well peeps, that’s our final album review for 2018! It’s been a sick year for releases and it’s got us even more stoked for the releases to come. We hope you’ve found value, clarity, and context in these reviews, and we continue to strive for better content as the days go on. We’d be nothing without the fans of the #IntoThePitUniverse. Happy Holidays or whatever the hell you celebrate around this time of year. See you in 2019 for the next album review!