Psycroptic – As the Kingdom Drowns (Prosthetic)

Sunday, 18th November 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Ever the forward-movers when it comes to their sound and direction, even if you can still hear only a few moments and know what band you are listening to, it’s also a testament to Psycroptic’s legacy within the extreme metal circuit. As the Kingdom Drowns may be the band’s seventh full-length, but it still manages to carry a youthful hunger – something that gives it quite an edge over many in the field.

First things first, while As the Kingdom Drowns may not cover a ton of new ground compared with their self-titled release three years ago, it’s still helping to push things farther ahead. The band’s more thrashy and occasionally groovy approach stays at the forefront of the sound, with guitarist Joe Haley having that almost instantly identifiable sound and playing style. You can tell it’s Psycroptic, but the level of refinement is worth noting. The band starts things off quite frantically this time around, with “We Were the Keepers” and “Frozen Gaze” leaving a wasteland of punchy thrash riffs and blastbeats in their wake. It also manages to outperform much of the ‘tech squad’ because of the way it’s written. A hallmark of the band has been their ability to make things catchy, and despite the frequently high velocities and playfully intricate riffing, you want to go back and dissect songs like “Beyond the Black” because of their initially catchy structures. Groovier cuts like “Directive” help balance the nature of the album and let chunky riffs bore into your skull even further. The 37-minute affair stays just long enough too, able to pummel your senses but still allow you to leave the experience with a coherent thought and reverie for the material that just passed.

Continuing further into the thrashier end of the tech death pool, As the Kingdom Drowns sees Psycroptic at the top of their game and sharpening the edges of their proficiency. While there aren’t a ton of surprises to be had, there’s enough evolution to keep fans intrigued and showcase what makes them one of the go-to acts in this particular genre.

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