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Psykosis - Welcome to the Psycho Ward

Welcome to the Psycho Ward
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 28 September 2016, 6:06 AM

British metal fans may recognize PSYKOSIS as that band whose singer wandered naked around the Bloodstock camp site in 2014, promising free beer to anyone that checked them out on the New Blood Stage. All jokes about exposure aside, it was a tactic that paid off, as the Irish four piece have since become a popular underground act in the UK. Their live shows in particular are well known for being raucous beer spraying parties but their recorded material has so far been limited to a few demos. Thankfully, “Welcome To The Psycho Ward” is a very solid debut. It offers very little in the way of surprises and is good old light-hearted Thrash, cut from the same cloth as MUNICIPAL WASTE and fellow Irishmen GAMA BOMB. It harks back to the classic eighties sound but also takes its cues from some of the newer bands; they’re a group who’ve been influenced by the genre’s resurgence in the mid 2000’s and if they didn’t spend their formative years listening to “Enter The Grave” on repeat we’ll review the next NICKI MINAJ album.

It’s also short. Seven tracks long and running to just shy of 27 minutes, it’s over quicker than “Reign In Blood.” It’s a credit then that at such a brisk listen, “Welcome To The Psycho Ward” doesn’t leave you feeling short changed even if it doesn’t exactly thrive on originality. Their lyrical subjects revolve around the usual stereotypes of serial killers, old-school horror movies and the music is pure Bay Area aggression. PSYKOSIS may stick to a predictable formula but they do have one ace up their sleeve that makes them stand out; the vocal stylings of frontman GRANT WALSH. Pitched somewhere between BOBBY BLITZ and UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER, he’s a screeching, shouting vocalist who occasionally sounds like ROBERT SHAW dragging his nails down a chalk board, but he’s also very distinctive and suits their turbo-charged music perfectly. He’s a charismatic leader and the strongest weapon they have, although it’s easy to see how anyone that likes their vocalists a bit more polished may be instantly put off.

Those who do enjoy the rawness of his pipes though will find seven prime cuts of quality Thrash on “Welcome To The Psycho Ward.” The opening “Rise To Fall” is an instant call to arms designed to get heads banging and “Driller Killer” is razor-edged party metal that could only be more fun if it poured the beer itself. They also find the time to trot out the zombie cliché yet again and despite being massively overused, “Tag Your Dead” is still a good enough track to make the living dead feel exciting again. It’s a neck-snapping anthem with a big chant-along chorus that’ll inspire pits in dive venues all over the world so even if the corpses aren’t exactly fresh, they still look pretty damn cool.

Elsewhere, the ACCEPT-aping “Terror At 3am” features a fine vocal performance from WALSH and suggests that he’s a far more talented singer than he might be letting on. It comes with all the hairy-chested machismo of traditional German Metal and is a clear highlight that would normally be tough to follow. Wisely though, they save the strongest cut for the finale, rounding things off with the excellent “Toxic Fugitive,” a song that’ll leave you contemplating what a terrific album it is rather than how fast it ended. In other words, “Welcome To The Psycho Ward” is fun, frantic and well written. It’s bursting with infectious energy and while it is thoroughly unchallenging, everyone who enjoys a good booze-up should find it nicely refreshing. If OLIVER REED had been in a Metal band, he would have been in PSYKOSIS.
Oh and the beer they give out is called “Psykopiss.” Do not drink the Psykopiss.

Songwriting: 8/10
Originality: 5/10
Production: 8/10
Memorability: 8/10

4 Star Rating

1. Rise To Fall
2. Hunt To Kill
3. Driller Killer
4. Mortar Platoon
5. Tag Your Dead
6. Terror At 3am
7. Toxic Fugitive
Jay Shaw – Bass
Tom Moylan  – Drums
Grant Walsh – Vocals, Lead Guitar
Tony Corcoran - Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 21 March 2023

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