• Psychotrain - Crossing The Threshold Of Hell (2010) - Thrash metal attitude with unique vocals - 78% (26/05/14)

    Psychotrain - Crossing The Threshold Of Hell (2010)

    Psychotrain is a young thrash metal band from Thailand’s capital Bangkok that released its promising first output with the cool title “Crossing the Threshold of Hell” back in 2010. While the rhythm section of the band is decent and the guitar play even very good, I really liked the special vocals on this first strike. The band doesn’t only have a high quality and energizing style but you can also perfectly understand what this guy is singing about which isn’t always the case for Asian bands that try to perform in English. Let’s also add that the self-made production of the album is surprisingly balanced, organic and straight for such an exotic first full length effort.

    After an atmospheric and intriguing overture, the opener “Soul Destination” takes no prisoners and opens a thrash metal album as it should be. The track includes a galloping main riff and a few fast melodic guitar solos. What really stands out are though the unique half growled, half spoken and half sung vocals that sound unusual in the beginning but develop a certain charm after a while.

    In the catchy “The Promised Land” that has an energizing but melodic punk attitude as well as a slightly more traditional heavy metal orientated touch, the vocals remain unique but are more melodic this time without losing their edges. The vocals sound more common and approachable this time but I preferred the surprising note of the previous song. The instrumental parts in here vary from mid- to up-tempo passages. The song clearly incarnates the spirit of the golden metal years back in the middle of the eighties without sounding too old-fashioned.

    The band basically plays songs in the key of the first and especially the second track throughout the album. The powerhouse drumming and the often audible bass guitar build up the band’s solid foundations. The vocals are straight but truly addicting and vary from more melodic passages to a few straighter approaches. The riffs are always sharp and addicting. The guitar work is overall very well done and the few faster solo parts are really emotional as well. The band doesn’t care about catchy mainstream tracks or half ballads and delivers the melodic thrash metal fans what they really desire.

    There is another song I would though like to underline as it simply stands out on this album. The track is called “South Of Fire”. The song has a slightly symphonic opening reminding me almost of an atmospheric gothic or a bleak symphonic metal track. The song even includes a few spoken word passages and strange vocal effects in the opening as well as in the middle part. But don’t worry as the song quickly goes back to the usual heavy and thrash metal driven sound. I can’t really explain you why but the fast but melodic chorus with its multiple and slightly androgynous vocals really stayed on my mind from the first try on. This song sounds like a thrash metal version of King Diamond while the rest of the album should rather please to fans of bands like OverKill or Slayer for example.

    In the end, fans of fresh and energizing but melodic old school thrash metal should immediately try this album out as it goes back to the genre’s essential elements without sounding too old-fashioned. With a running time of almost exactly forty minutes, this record also has the perfect length to remain gripping instead of becoming repetitive. These days the thrash metal scene is missing promising newcomers like these that still have the famous "thrash attitude" and this band even sings about it in their pitiless final track that should please to any fan of the genre. It really is a shame that the band has already split up but that shouldn't keep you from enjoying this great record.

    Originally written for The Metal Observer

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