Review: PSYKOSIS – “Welcome to the Psyko Ward”… Posted: 30/08/2016 by John O'Brien
There are a few things that every local metal scene needs. There’s the black metal band known for their deep vocals and monochrome face-paint, the punk act who are renowned for consuming copious amounts of alcohol before each show and the band who base both their music and image on historical or mythological themes. Then, there’s the obligatory fast, fun thrash band that no local music scene should go without. Unfortunately, these acts often try a little too hard to recapture that old denim clad magic and come off sounding kind of forced. Luckily, this is not the case for Dublin based thrash outfit, PSYKOSIS, who sound like they were born to not only play that classic 80’s style, but to absolutely own it as if they had single-handedly created the genre. Their debut record, “Welcome to the Psyko Ward”, is so brash and unrelenting in its execution that it proves this in spades!
Bizarrely the album opens with two of its weaker tracks. However, weak on this album does not mean bad. ‘Rise To Fall’ begins with a series of punches as Tony Cocoran’s rhythm guitar lays down a line of fast paced tripleting, followed by a blast from Grant Walsh’s lead before he begins to spitting his signature high pitched snarl into the microphone as the band thunder into the opening verse. With a distinct I-don’t-care attitude and a vocal line that sounds like an aural beatdown, as if each syllable is deliberately constructed for maximum impact, PSYKOSIS are quick to let the listener know that for the next 27 minutes, they’ll be dragged through the Psyko Ward and they’ll love every minute of it. ‘Rise To Fall’ is swiftly followed by ‘Hunt To Kill’ which raises the bar even further with another outright sonic assault. ‘Hunt To Kill’ rushes along at a solid speed throughout, and only slows down to take a breath and allow you to believe you’ve gotten off lightly before it strikes once again.
The real star of the show rears its sadistic head as the third track, a song that contains all the ingredients for a thrash classic, and looks set to be a staple in the Dublin band’s career. ‘Driller Killer’ gives you absolutely everything you could possibly want from a song of this nature. It’s frantic, fun, and humorous, driven by a catchy riff and backed up by the thunder of Shane Byrne’s drums which speed along like a train. As Walsh’s vocals tell the tale of a maniac armed with a power drill, the back-up vocals create some of the most entertaining call and response sections this side of GAMA BOMB’s iconic Citizen Brain album. The track also features one of the album’s standout segments, one that’s sure to get stuck in the head of each listener with more efficiently than the aforementioned electric power tool. This comes in the form of a chant where the song’s title is repeated over and over. It revels in its own simplicity, but still manages to become hugely effective and could serve as a fantastic opportunity for crowd interaction during live sets.
Although “Welcome to the Psyko Ward” only features seven songs, you can rest assured that there isn’t a second of this record that you would want to miss. Each note is perfectly struck, and it features one of the best guitar sounds ever heard on an Irish metal album. Tracks like ‘Tag Your Dead’ and ‘Mortar Platoon’ are simply a joy to hear, to such an extent that they actually feel like they demand that you start them again, just to indulge in their fast paced riffs and incredible breaks another time. While songs like ‘Terror At 3am’ cry out with steadier mid-tempo groove reminiscent to HAVOK’s “Killing Tendencies”, supplying the record with something of a melodic sway, it all comes crashing back into form with the NUCLEAR ASSAULT-esque ‘Toxic Fugitive’ where speed and ferocity dominate the track’s structure.
If you’re looking for a serious album that speaks about the real life issues that affect people across the globe or the threat of political upheaval, you’ve come to the wrong place. However, if you’d rather a shot glass of excellently crafted speed metal, coupled with chants about the joys of shooting zombies and the damage a drill wielding madman could do the human body with his weapon of choice, then the Psyko Ward is certainly the place for you.