Psychopathos - "Pretty Hard" (2002, 26776 00432)
From Aural Innovations #22 (January 2003)
Toronto-based Psychopathos, a self-described '75% grrl' band, draws on influences like 'old skool punk rawk, death metal and grindcore, to dare I say, classic uh? rock' (Paranoid-era Black Sabbath comes to mind.) Which is the ideal musical vehicle to express, frustration, nay, rage against such modern day atrocities as random killings, unrestrained genetic manipulation, derision of 'female problems' by a certain type of insensitive goof, emotional manipulation and that great boogie man of contemporary urban life – self-esteem issues. Within this psycho-social landscape, Psychopathos tears through twelve kinetic essays on these and other compelling issues.
The problem being that while there is some sophistication in delineating, for example, how young activists hide behind political dogma to hide darker, more manipulative intents (“You talked like it was outside you; you put it to politics' from Apathy vs. Guilt, for my money the best written track on the disk), there's also plenty of overblown cliché ('Everyone's a liar' from the title track, 'You'll never be satisfied Always measuring yourself to others' from You Kill Me) which renders the disk (as least lyrically) a tad on the sophomoric side.
Which is not to diminish the talent of its members: drummer Agnes Dombi is a virtuoso – rolls, fills spill from her kit in what seems like unending torrents, only reined in briefly in the chorus section of Rogerio and the paced comeuppance of You Kill Me; vocalist Diana Leppanen (aided by fellow guitar-smith Leslie Walters) delivers like the second coming of Siouxie Sioux, while bassist Angelo Rigakos (the lone guy amongst the triple-strength grrls) provides solid support on the rhythm side of things, rarely showcased except for his opening strumming in Rogerio.
Psychopathos, formed late in 2001, with just a few live gigs to date, is a band with a mission, and that mission is to seriously rock the house; this is the delivery vehicle for raising social consciousness amidst the turbulence of early 21st century big city life. With greater emphasis on incorporating melody and structure into their craft (while keeping the kick-ass playing that serves as this outfit's strongest suit), Psychopathos could widen their audience base and become a force to be reckoned with not just locally, but perhaps nationally as well.
For more information you can visit the Psychopathos web site at: http://www.psychopathos.com.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Ian Compton