It is no secret that there is a place where the heavier genres all meet, skirt around, and influence and infect each other’s sound. It is a place where grunge’s swampiness subsumes punk’s directness. A place where a more abrasive metal sound roughs up hard rock. Literally a point between rock and a hard(er) place! A place where genres blend, lines blur, barriers lept, and barricades are kicked down; it is here that you find Psycho Death Punk.
But plenty of melodicism is present here, coupled with their short, sharp, and shockingly effective deliveries, which pulls them back towards an old-school punk sound. However, this is anything but punk by numbers.
For every song like One Thing, which makes me think back to my formative days of watching the likes of Stiff Little Fingers in a sweaty basement somewhere on the other side of the tracks in East London, there is something most unexpected such as the almost balladic Green Eyes. I say virtually because it is a ballad pushed through the filter of low-slung garage rock riffs, heavy grooves, strange arabesque-industrial riffs, and an abrasive sonic texture.
Ancient Tales has that classic rock feel, slow, thunderous ebbs and guitar flows, prowling, predatory vibe, and deep and searching lyrics, which feel like the band has uncovered some ancient wisdom and set it free through music. Elephant is a set of squalling metal riffs driven onwards by thunderous drums and depth-charge bass lines; Energy manages to splice an almost pop sensibility to a hard rock engine, and Undetermined rounds things off in fine style, a neat blend of industrial edge and beguiling grooves.
It is easy to accuse music made in these heavier realms of lacking finesse and sophistication. But that would be to miss the point totally. The finesse of such music comes from its ability to splice groove with grit, power with poise, melody with weight. Heavy this may be, but the art is to plow such a weighty furrow but not make the music too dense, claustrophobic, or daunting. The art is in allowing the light to get in. It is such art that Psycho Death Punk exhibits on this eponymous album.