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.