If, like me, you felt Psycroptic’s last release (self-titled and released in 2015) saw the band releasing their first merely ‘good’ album, then you might be viewing the nativity of new album As the Kingdom Drowns with more than a little trepidation.
Don’t worry – there’s no need.
In purely relative terms, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed first contact with a Psycroptic album as much ever as I did when first clapping my lugs around ATKD. Tight, crisply put together (yet still never using two notes or beats when 850 will do) but best of all chest-crushingly heavy, this is surely Psycroptic approaching career-best levels of heaviness and, crucially, accessibility. Tracks like Directive are chock-full of Revocationesque technical overkill, sure, but within the sleek black shell there is, unquestionably, a brightly coloured soulfulness bursting to get out of every hypesrpeed riff from Joe Haley, and every inhuman trip around the kit from brother David. This is that beautifully rare beast – the eminently listenable extreme metal record.
Deadlands opens with a superb piece of Bay Area chug, the title track packs in epic amounts of everything yet still clocks in at less than four and a half minutes… wherever you look the whole bloody album is bursting with plus points. Even the clean, ethereal female backing vocals, which I’d heard about but couldn’t reconcile myself to within the rigid framework of technical death metal, work an absolute treat wherever they are employed. I tell you, if this album worked on any more levels, it would be in with a chance of winning this years prestigious Car Park of the Year Award…
But enough of the jokes. This is exactly the album long-term Psycrotes like me wanted to hear from the band, an album that signifies in the shape of ball-scragging ragers like Beyond the Black that that last album was just the sound of a band catching it’s breath and recalibrating itself for another great leap forward. This is that leap, and it’s bloody huge.
Buy this album, today!
As the Kingdom Drowns is released today (November 9th).