I massively, hugely enjoyed 2015’s self-titled album, and the more I’ve got to know it over the years the more I’ve come to appreciate just how good of a record it is.
As the Kingdom Drowns finds Psycroptic at probably their most concise and surgical – the album contains 9 tracks in 35 minutes, and is both high-impact and very effective at what it does.
Psycroptic have proven themselves to be a talented band over the years, and one of their talents is that they can write riffs and guitar lines that are both technical and catchy. As you probably know, this is not an easy thing to do. Of course, we also get a whole bunch of purely technical messing around, as well as a decent amount of nicely rhythmic directness, all which is coherently condensed into songs that are relatively short and punchy, while also retaining the depth of delivery that the band are known for.
Ferocity and technicality, with hooks and depth, with songs and character, with even some progressive and atmospheric elements thrown in…As the Kingdown Drowns is professional, confident, well-rounded, and basically completely shreds in all of the best ways. Damn, I was looking forward to this, but they’ve blown me away.
Technical death metal can sometimes fall down due to a failure to recognise the need for an actual song to be present somewhere, but this is no issue on As the Kingdom Drowns. The band have effectively taken what worked so very, very well on their last album and refined it further. However, there’s more – not only have Psycroptic pushed themselves to be the best version of themselves, they’ve also taken themselves into new waters too – the longest song here, for example, is Upon These Shores, and offers up something a bit different from the band. Psycroptic have experimented in a few different places on this album, and the results are impressive indeed.
Whether As the Kingdom Drowns actually ascends to the heights of the band’s last album I am not 100% sure of yet, although the initial signs are very promising. After all, I haven’t had the years to absorb this new one yet – but after listening intently so far I’m confident that As the Kingdom Drowns is at least its predecessor’s peer, and probably even its superior. Yep, it’s that good.
An essential listen.