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Australian death metal giants Psycroptic have unleashed their seventh album, titled As The Kingdom Drowns.
The Hobart-based death metal band have become renowned as one of the genre’s longstanding bands, with consistently strong, heavy, technically impressive albums. As The Kingdom Drowns is a mighty album, but one that assumes a slightly different tone, with a darker, more epic overall sound than we have heard from Psycroptic.
Drummer David Haley sees innovation as essential in the band’s sound. Drawing upon Pyscroptic’s twenty years of experience has provided creatively fertile opportunity, as Haley explains, “Yeah well I guess as we go along and explore different writing techniques, recording techniques, different production techniques and things like that, we just have a greater pool of resources to draw from. We’re at a stage … we’ve been doing this for quite some time, so we have a lot of stylistic changes over the years which has always been completely natural and organic for us. When an idea comes up, let’s try this or that, it never gets shot down, we’re going to try every idea out, especially because Joe [Haley, guitars] owns the studio that we recorded in so we’ve got a lot of resources at our disposal to explore different ideas and not just settle for what’s easy, we want to keep it fresh.”
I’d definitely say we stretched out our creativity on this one.
[ Dave Haley ]
Trying out new ideas sure sounds fun and refreshing, and these new ideas have pushed the boundaries of Psycroptic’s sound and writing practice, according to Haley. “I’d definitely say we stretched out our creativity on this one,” Haley states, then reflects, “we’ve done the technicality for technicality’s sake, these days I wouldn’t even consider us a “tech-death” band, as we often get referred to, we are simply a metal band, there’s elements in our music that have technicality but at the end of the day its about writing cool and catchy songs, within our particular framework. So, a lot of the writing and creativity came from Joe’s side (Joe Haley, guitarist] on this one, I’d say he wrote eighty to ninety percent of the ideas so its very much … we didn’t steer him in any direction, it was very organic in the way it unfolded, and not really having a time constraint was a help because we were able to try new ideas and if we all didn’t like something we’d suggest changes or scrap the idea entirely. It’s hard to speak like an outsider, when you’re involved in the project its like this is what Psycroptic sounds like, I guess every time we release an album it’s a snap shot for everyone else listening, but when you’re involved in the creative writing process it just feels very natural that it evolved this way and when you get the final product, especially with this album, it feels like of course this is how it was going to come out, of course it feels natural, but some people when they hear it, are taken aback, it does have these new elements in it, but we’ve had time to adjust to it.”
This creative space to which Psycroptic have evolved does have moments of a remarkably ‘new’ sound, such as the melodic elements on their first single We Were The Keepers. According to Haley, Psycroptic have actually drawn upon elements already embedded in their sound. “If you do go back and listen to our previous albums,” he explains, “there has been some of these underlying elements, they’ve always essentially been there, but might not have come through as strongly, you know, this was mixed by Will Putney whereas the previous albums were mixed by Joe, so some of these elements were just brought out and emphasised a lot more through Will’s mix. The whole mixing process is a creative site, unto itself, everyone–producers, engineers–everyone has their own style, and put their stamp on the album as well so I think it was a good mix, and I think Joe did explore a lot more of the melodic element, they were magnified by the mix at the end of the day, whereas previous albums they might have been subtle in the background and not as emphasised. I think this album is a lot more representative of how we sound on the live front, it’s a good representation of what we do sound like as a live band as opposed to the studio version of the band and the live version, I think it’s a good blending of the two worlds.”
He takes a lot of inspiration from, I guess you could say, political issues, environmental problems, you know, I guess modern day issues that are confronting … to sum it up it’s his pissed off lyrics about humans fucking up the world.
[ Dave Haley ]
The ‘darker’ sound may be a new formula comprising of Psycroptic’s bountiful creative resources, but lyrically, of course, darkness and anger is nothing new for this death metal powerhouse. Psycroptic’s vocalist has a deep reservoir of rage at this stage of the band’s career to bring to the lyrics for As The Kingdom Drowns, as Haley reports: “Well Jason [Peppiatt, vocalist] actually wrote all the lyrics on this album, in the past I’ve written lyrics here and there, but he wrote a hundred percent of the lyrics [on As The Kingdom Drowns]. Of course, they’re all open to interpretation. He [Peppiatt] will have a theme or topic in mind that he wants to explore but he actually said he went out to write in a fairly generalised manner, so anyone can read them and put their own spin on it, you know, take from it what they will. He takes a lot of inspiration from, I guess you could say, political issues, environmental problems, you know, I guess modern day issues that are confronting … to sum it up it’s his pissed off lyrics about humans fucking up the world.”
As The Kingdom Drowns is out now via Prosthetic Records, order/stream here.
PSYCROPTIC AS THE KINGDOM DROWNS AUSTRALIAN TOUR:
Wed 28 November // Geelong // The Barwon Club
Thu 29 November // Ballarat // Karova Lounge
Fri 30 November // Adelaide // Enigma Bar
Sat 1 December //Melbourne // Max Watts
Sun 2 December // Warrnambool // The Loft Live
Thu 4 December // Wodonga // Eligins
Wed 5 December // Canberra // The Basement
Thu 6 December // Newcastle // The Small Ballroom
Fri 7 December // Sydney // Factory Theatre
Sat 8 December // Hobart // The Brisbane Hotel
Sun 9 December // Launceston // Mode
Wed 12 December // Gold Coast // Shark Bar
Thu 13 December // Byron Bay // Byron Bay Brewery
Fri 14 December // Fortitude Valley // Woolly Mammoth Alehouse
Sat 15 December // Perth // Bad Lands
Sun 16 December // North Fremantle // Swan Basement
Tickets at www.Eventbrite.com.au