Review Summary: An all-obliterating barrage, The Psyke Project's farewell is everything one could want from a hardcore sludge record.
Danish collective The Psyke Project knew how to write a thundering song, and on Guillotine
their brand of bouncing hardcore sludge, bearing resemblance to that of Amenra and Time to Burn, wastes no time in making itself known. The first three tracks steamroll through with very few airs and graces, largely courtesy of the swampy, fuzzy riffs of Mikkel Vadstrup Schmidt and Christian Bonnesen. ‘Death Sight’’s stoner swagger splits the more hostile animus of the title track and ‘The End’ perfectly, while Martin Nielskov barely deviates from his spiteful roar (a trait carried throughout Guillotine
, tonality being sacrificed somewhat for vitriolic delivery). ‘Empire’ takes a further leaf out of Amenra’s book, the lower pace and more prominent guitar melody yielding slightly less animalistic results than the previous tracks, while still maintaining a massively dense atmosphere.
However, not content with merely adapting another group’s style, the Copenhagen quintet unleash another side upon the listener; a side which, were it human, would never eat with its mouth closed, and would spit stomach acid in the eye of anyone who dared admonish it. While traces of this character can be seen during the first three tracks (in particular ‘The End’), it really comes to the forefront during ‘Partisan’. Best described as ‘four-and-a-half minutes of serious open string abuse’, The Psyke Project somehow pull it off with unsettling aplomb; in what feels like Drop-Z tuning, each chug drags the listener further into the mire, while Nielskov’s growls turn into half-gargles, morphing into the refrain “We pray // For something that will never happen.” ‘Partisan’ isn’t the only time this brazen approach to songwriting raises its ugly head. ‘Ghost Fight’, after charging along on a sea of crusty riffs and D-beats, collapses into a breakdown with some of the most shameless whammy-bar drops ever put to record, and both ‘Good for Nothing’ and ‘Menneske’ combine the aforementioned bouncing energy with some delightfully dark, tar-thick riffs.
Is it big? No. Is it clever? More so than it may at first appear, although Guillotine
is still not in any danger of earning any MENSA awards in the near future. However, The Psyke Project have balanced the ever-so-delicate scales between heaviness and variety almost perfectly, and in doing so, create the most fitting swansong for a band of their ilk; venomous it may be, but it’s also, more importantly, an absolute blast. By the time Guillotine
reaches its end (which by featuring one of the best riffs in the genre, ‘Menneske’ is more than sufficient a farewell by itself), it’s hard, if not impossible, to have neither headbanged nor grinned like an idiot at least