The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


Shock ‘Em Dead


By Shane Pinnegar


Psychonaut dark overlord Mark DeVattimo (guitars, vocals) and lieutenants Simon Hallet (thunderous bass), Mike Kaval (rip roaring guitars) and session drummer Brody Simpson (Lombardo-esque drum fury) have constructed a fantastical world which owes as much to Black Sabbath and Slayer as it does to Frank Zappa, Star Wars, horror movies, Mad Max, Manowar, and the zombie apolocaypse.


Those movies n’ metal references loom large over proceedings, as a glance through song titles such as Rosemary’s Baby, Wolfman, The Tooth Of Dracula and so forth will attest.


The genius here is in constructing songs which burst with life and groove, technical songwriting which references diverse influences whilst still sounding unique, and combining witty, intelligent lyrics with tongue wryly in cheek like some metalhead version of the mighty FZ crossed with Mike Patton.


Musically Psychonaut’s bedrock is Heavy Metal – in the original sense of the word – huge riffs, loads of melody, great grooves, frenetic solos, vocals you can understand and sing along to. Power and force. Throw in a few touches of thrashy and speedy metal and the admirable ability to not take themselves too seriously whilst remaining serious musicians, and you have a mighty album from start to finish.


Highlights are plentiful – Rosemary’s Baby has a hook which burrows deeper with each repeated listen; False Metal’s lyrics reference Exodus, Manowar, nuclear war, Satan, headbanging and suicide in a hilarious ponderance on songwriting; DeVattimo’s faux Lemmy Kilmister voice on Lemmy Von Frankenstein; Il Planeta Delle Scimme’s tribute to The Planet Of The Apes; Wtchd’s sinister tip of the cap to Megadeth; and Thrash Metal Zombies does exactly what it says on the tin.


“Shock ‘Em Dead” is a ball tearer from start to finish, and through it's 14 tracks, never threatens to outstay it’s welcome for a moment. Much like many of the movies it references, “Shock ‘Em Dead” is destined to become a cult classic.



Review posted 25 May 2012