Micro Dose/Art Rant: Psycroptic – As The Kingdom Drowns (2018)

  • Psycroptic
  • As The Kingdom Drowns
  • Tech death
  • Australia
  • 9th November 2018


As The Kingdom Drowns is a chewy treat that endures multiple listens well. There’s plenty of brutality but there’s also room for more elaborate and melodic guitar work. The vocals also reduce intensity at times to accommodate them without ever tipping into cleans. There’s something to be said about a stalwart mid range vocalist in the current scene where the emphasis is placed on lows and highs. The result is a series of balanced and flexible songs, sometimes creating an anthem and other times dueling with futuristic licks.

The standout track for me is “Beyond The Black”, the feminine guest vocals bring an epic feel to the song with the peak feeling almost like a musical number about to break out between the metal layers. It’s very big. Jason (Psycroptic‘s vocalist) get’s a lot higher than usual here as well with similarities to Mastodon and new Cattle Decapitation with their “clean but not clean” style. It follows through to the calmer opening of “Upon These Stones” nicely. Another solid track that reminds me a lot of Opeth which is never a bad thing. It’s high quality stuff and the fact that it can be compared to these titan’s of industry is telling.

They unfortunately sold out of cassette but still have vinyl available which I can safely recommend to death metal enthusiasts. The artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski makes this album a great physical product worth having in your collection. Familiarize yourself with the artists behind the covers and it will enhance your collecting experience. I’m definitely bummed that I couldn’t get a cassette but there’s 200 out there somewhere I can possibly purchase privately in the future.

RANT nn the subject of Lewandowski, I’ve noticed a lot on social media that people try to scoff or dismiss him as being derivative of Zdzisław Beksiński. I have to ask these people, how derivative is the music that uses it’s album art? Psycroptic are the closest to forerunners of their genre (tech death started in ’99) but Fuming Mouth, False or Bell Witch are more or less new blood. Art doesn’t work this way, it works like storytelling. The same stories get told again and again until they are told perfectly or most appropriately. Many writers will spend their whole life telling that one story in different iterations. As a generation we have to pick up somewhere and that will often be where the previous left off. Beksiński was metal as fuck, even down to his death. Lewandowski is also metal as fuck, but did you take a look at his works that aren’t selected by the bands to be on their covers? Or even know that what you most commonly see is what the metal community uses and not his entire body of work? The body as a whole is fucking dumbfounding, the sheer scope of his imagery and architecture. Undeniable talent and vision.

In summation: Most people who get on the “Lewandowski stole from Beksiński hurr durr” bandwagon are actually virtual signalling their intelligence by name dropping Beksiński which is the greater act of derision if you ask me. You tried to use one man’s art to dismiss others without ever doing any yourself. Bravo social media. If his work is so derivative then surely any artist can replicate his work through artificial means. Oh? So you see, he’s more of a protege than a thief.

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