Rock music has a long history of power trios and it’s not hard to see why; there’s something about the sheer vitality of hearing three musicians push themselves to the limit that just works. Greece’s A Victim Of Society style themselves in the vein of that lineage by way of a sophomore LP – ‘Freaktown’ – that pulls no punches when it comes to frivolous Psych ‘n’ Roll and high octane jamming.
‘Freaktown’ is an album that finds joy in the white-knuckle adrenaline rush of foot-to-the-floor psych rock. A Victim of Society have all the hallmarks of an archetypal power trio; doggedly relentless drum and bass work, buzzsaw vicious guitar parts and urgent, yelped vocals. It’s hardly a new sound but the band make it work for them and even if they wear their influences on their sleeves it’s a sound that gels well (think the primal groove of early Queens Of The Stone Age mixed with the vitriolic psych-punk of Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall, perhaps even a trippier Metz).
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Highly strung rhythms lay the basis for an album that has a keen sense of drive and persistency throughout. The taut bass lines and ferocious push of the drums give the band their hook. It’s a hard and fast adrenaline rush that allows A Victim Of Society to keep a consistently relentless momentum going throughout ‘Freaktown’. Despite some convincingly tight work from the rhythm section, it’s the guitar that largely takes centre stage here. Drenched in reverb and echo, the band lend the instrument a quasi-biblical status, treated as though it has been assigned a divine power. Wielded like a weapon of ecclesiastical destruction, it’s the winding exultant way in which the phaser and reverb drenched solos snake around the drums and bass that really elevate A Victim Of Society.
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In amongst the swirling psych-rock that stands as the most overt thread of their music, the group also trade in a steely, hard-edged brand of post-punk which puts an emphasis on brash intensity. It’s perhaps not the most complex sound but it’s certainly one that gets the point across. One welcome surprise comes in the form of a drum solo during the latter half of the album’s 9 minute centrepiece, ‘Would You Care?’. Rather than taking shape as a crashing blast of noise, it instead presents itself as a sinewy exercise in atmosphere with stabs of tom and unpredictable explosions of crash setting a precedent of uncertainty that the rest of the group takes as it’s cue to subtly fade back into the picture. It’s a very convincing and unique piece of atmospheric work somewhat belied by the balls-to-the-wall intensity of much of the album. It’s not that A Victim Of Society suffer for their unrepentantly heavy sentiment – indeed, it’s a sound the band execute well – but it would have worked to the album’s advantage had they dabbled a little more in the sort of atmosphere-building exercises seen on ‘Would You Care?’
‘Freaktown’ is a record happy to exist within the long established boundaries of the blistering psych- rock it deals in. That does mean there’s a certainly familiarity to the band’s layout and aesthetic but there is also a freeing clarity to be found in that. Without them having to worry about pushing-the- envelope, A Victim Of Society have freed themselves up to create an energetic, moody-psych album that has plenty to offer to fans of the style.