New York City-based PSALM ZERO, the art metal outfit led by guitarist/singer/songwriter Charlie Looker, announces their third album, Sparta. The album will see release in late February in direct conjunction with the band’s Eastern US tour with Kayo Dot. A brief trailer for Sparta, the album’s cover art, track listing, and other details have been unveiled.
This eight-song Sparta is PSALM ZERO’s first album without former guitarist Andrew Hock, with Looker handling all vocals, guitars, synth, and programming, with Keith Abrams (Kayo Dot) on drums and additional synth, and Ron Varod (Kayo Dot, Zvi) on bass. Additionally, the record features guest lead vocals on “Return To Stone” by Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) and backing vocals on “Open Wound” and “A Pill” by Daisy Press. Sparta was recorded and mixed by Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets (The Body, Daughters, Marissa Nadler), mastered by Josh Bonati (Slowdive, Zola Jesus, King Dude), and features art and design by video artist Zev Deans (Ghost, Behemoth, Chelsea Wolfe).
Sparta is also the first PSALM ZERO record to be released not on the Profound Lore label, but on Looker’s own Last Things Records. The album marks both a moment of bold new beginnings, and the furtherance of a consistent vision.
See a short trailer for PSALM ZERO’s Sparta LP RIGHT HERE.
Sparta will be issued on LP and all digital platforms on February 24th. Watch for preorders, audio samples, and more to be posted in the weeks ahead.
Sparta Track Listing:
1. Open Wound
3. The Last Faith
4. No Victim
5. Return To Stone
6. Animal Outside
8. A Pill
As Sparta sees release, PSALM ZERO will embark on an Eastern US tour in support of the album. Beginning February 29th, the trek sees the band supporting Kayo Dot on a winding route through Detroit, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Madison, St. Louis, Nashville, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Columbia, Charlotte, Falls Church, Philadelphia, ending in New York City on March 22nd.
PSALM ZERO w/ Kayo Dot:
2/28/2020 Galaxy Brewing Company – Binghamton, NY
2/29/2020 The Sanctuary – Detroit, MI
3/01/2020 Ace Of Cups – Columbus, OH
3/02/2020 Black Circle Brewing – Indianapolis, IN
3/04/2020 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL w/ Blktxxth
3/05/2020 Communications – Madison, WI
3/06/2020 Fubar – St. Louis, MO
3/07/2020 Little Harpeth Brewing – Nashville, TN
3/10/2020 The Bakery – Atlanta, GA
3/11/2020 Nighthawks – Jacksonville, FL
3/12/2020 Will’s Pub – Orlando, FL
3/13/2020 Las Rosas – Miami, FL
3/15/2020 New Brookland Tavern – Columbia, SC
3/17/2020 The Milestone – Charlotte, NC
3/18/2020 VFW 9274 – Falls Church, VA
3/19/2020 1984 – Wilmington, DE
3/20/2020 Century – Philadelphia, PA
3/22/2020 Mercury Lounge – New York, NY [info]
After nearly four years of writing, rehearsing, and solo project excursions, PSALM ZERO returns with Sparta. Having garnered respect in the metal underground over the past seven years for their intense blend of disparate styles and genres, PSALM ZERO delivers another statement of their truly unique vision of heavy music.
Sparta retains many of the signature aesthetics of PSALM ZERO’s first two LPs, The Drain (2014) and Stranger To Violence (2016). Charlie Looker’s distinctive baritone continues its dark pop echoes of Depeche Mode, building soaring melodic choruses, over punishing, gloomy guitar riffs hearkening to Katatonia, grinding bass in the Godflesh tradition, and a bed of cold, lush synth ambience. However, most black and death metal elements have fallen by the wayside, with the guitar riffs now centering more on doom metal, and even some of the more straightforward alternative rock sounds of the 90s and 00s. Perhaps the most striking difference, however, is that PSALM ZERO’s previous drum machine mechanism has given way to the virtuosic, and deeply human, live beats of Keith Abrams. The sensibility of Sparta is less that of a studio-oriented project, and more that of an actual “rock band.”
Recorded by in-demand engineer Seth Manchester at Providence, Rhode Island-based creative hub, Machines With Magnets, Sparta boasts a bigger, more hi-fi sound than any prior PSALM ZERO release. Lyrically, Sparta is like prior band statements, in Looker’s merging of personal, emotional crisis, with more outward-directed political and social questioning. However, this time, the themes are less sprawling, more focused: What is the meaning of universal human brotherhood? Can this sense of shared humanity survive? Across the album’s eight songs, the perspective oscillates between pessimistic anxiety, and the taking of a more hopeful, committed, and we hope not last, stand for the unity of mankind.
Still pushing the boundaries of what heavy music can be, and yet more accessible and crossover-friendly than ever, Sparta promises to further bring together between fans of extreme metal, indie rock, gothic aesthetics, and experimental composition.