Ever wondered what would happen if Mastodon got together with Russian Circles, locked themselves in a deep, dark cellar with a bunch of guitars and amps and drums and effects pedals and bucketloads of PCP and mescaline? Yeah, you did.
Well, your prayers have been answered, as this is exactly what The Psychic Paramount sound like. The songs appear to have been hewn from gabbro, and the guitar riffs sound not unlike an exploding supervolcano. There’s some of the heaviest drumming you’ve heard since you took acid that time and you thought the Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse were running around outside your house, banging on the front door, not realising it was your neighbour, and the police, who’d been called by said neighbour because you’d been screaming about HORSES for six hours straight. No? Just me then.
Which leads me onto an interesting article I read the other week in the ever-excellent The Atlantic magazine. In it, writer Annie Murphy posits that hallucinogens, given under the correct circumstances – in a social context that provides comfort and ceremony as well as a safety net – can help cure depression. This, to me, stands to reason. Most of the casualties of acid et al that I know of came as a result of it being taken in the wrong circumstances. People I know who’d taken it with trusted friends (some of who stayed sober) reported it as being a joyful and interesting experience. Those who didn’t, well, didn’t.
My person feeling is that the human brain is a very, very complex beast that sometimes needs to experience different states of being in order to keep functioning correctly. Given that so many human cultures utilise drugs of all kinds, from stimulants like coca and caffeine, through alcohol to the more hallucinogenic drugs such as mescaline, peyote, and licking toads, you’d bet your bottom dollar that there is something to this whole getting off your face thing. The important part is context. These are all dangerous drugs, taken at the wrong time or with the wrong people, but as part of a social construct – hand in hand with some kind of belief system, as medicine or religion – it forms a vital part of being alive. Just watch Bruce Parry’s “Tribe” programme for many, many examples.
And to take this back to music; some music has a similar effect. Last few years I’ve seen a few bands that completely zone you out. Russian Circles, Mastodon and The Twilight Sad have all sent me into some kind of trance state with their constantly shifting, pummelling sound. The Psychic Paramount do exactly the same thing. Something tells me they like their states of being different to the norm too.
New album “II” is out now.
I ordered this the other day, from Amazon, alongside Sam Amidon’s third record
and a book of poetry. Donald Hall, I’ll have you know. Lord only knows what the Amazon Suggestion Fairies will make of that.