Guilty as Sin
Guilty as Sin commit subtraction by addition on latest effort Psychotronic. Their reliance on really bad hardcore barking for the first half of the album distracts from the Massachusetts trio's otherwise thrashing blend of DRI and Voivod. Guilty as Sin lives or dies on the strength of their twisty instrumental mystique and the vocals do nothing to contribute to the music's effect. Luckily, by the stronger second half they shut up and just let you enjoy the expansive weirdness. The rhythmic tension and release of "Addicted to Cyanide," with its dark night of the soul introspective interlude and its spiraling toward enlightenment conclusion, shows just how effective Guilty as Sin can be at conjuring emotion without the crutch of vocals.
Otherwise, Psychotronic is like a curated museum of the last 30 years of punk and metal evolution, revolution and convolution. "Frothing at the Cunt," as its deliberately stupid name may suggest, could have been slapped into the set of just about any of the bands on the infamous Rock Against Reagan tour while the horn section of "Into Dust" would go unremarked on a Total Fucking Destruction record.
Vocals aside, there are a couple of other clunkers that distract from Psychotronic's better moments. The Middle Eastern shuffle of "Godekli Tepe" is too much of a rehash of the similarly-inflected "Before the Flood" from prior album III and the 12 minute title track, which shuts down the album, is meandering to the point of being inert.
So once again, as with III and Led to the Slaughter, Guilty as Sin show flashes of inspired thrashy genius but fail to deliver a concise, complete album. However, editing the best parts of all three records into a single album would make a tidy little experimental thrash extravaganza.
[Full disclosure: The band sent me a review copy.]