Viking’s Choice: Psalm Zero Masters Its Own ‘Undoing’

By Lars Gotrich  |  NPR

Andrew Hock (left) and Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero.
Andrew Hock (left) and Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero. Amy Mills, Courtesy of the artist

Unlikely collaborations can unnerve and unwind heavy and extreme music in ways we’d never before imagined. There’s Painkiller, the guts-spilling grind-jazz band featuring saxophonist John Zorn, bassist Bill Laswell and Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris. Doom-metal duo The Body regularly engages outside its genre, including works with a female choir, a post-rock band and, soon, dark electronic musician The Haxan Cloak. Now, we can add Psalm Zero to the list with The Drain, one of the most oddly compelling heavy-music albums of the year so far. Take a listen to “Undoing.”

There’s a dynamic creative tension to Psalm Zero that drives “Undoing.” Charlie Looker comes from avant-rock bands like Zs, Dirty Projectors and Extra Life, and currently heads up the Renaissance folk-music group Seaven Teares. Andrew Hock leads Castevet, a claustrophobic yet melodic black-metal band. Under a Godflesh-y industrial drum machine, there’s a regal duo of guitars and Looker’s droning, cantor-like voice, answered by Hock’s manic growl and sludgy basslines. It’s a mid-paced, elegiac track that nearly comes to fisticuffs — but rewardingly so, as the disparate parts we might assign to Looker and Hock find ways to co-exist.

The Drain comes out March 4 on Profound Lore Records.

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Listen: Psalm Zero, 'Undoing'

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Artist: Psalm Zero
Album: Drain
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