The Psycho Merchants eponymous CD hits hard with the 3:24 blasts of “Stop Pushin’ it’s a blend of Joe Walsh meets Black Sabbath – think “Turn to Stone” – a Walsh tune that would fit perfectly within this power trio’s non-stop sonic assault. Drummer/lead vocalist Kevin Hupp has a sound that ranges from Ozzy to Jim Peterik of the group Ides of March. “Fire” appears to be a biographical tune and would make for a killer CD single with its compelling riff and eerie guitar overlays swirling throughout its four minutes and five seconds. “Fire” (not the Hendrix tune) musically mutates into Rubiks Cube with a melody ricocheting in and out of the maze. Rubkis Cube would make for a nice “bonus” track 12 in instrumental form, it has the groove.
“Dashboard Jesus” (with a gun in his hand) – a tongue-in-cheek composition from songwriter Hupp and his accomplice, guitarist Rick Tedesco, gives a mountainous blast of wry irony followed by the four minute twenty-seven second ballad, “Magdalena.” It’s stylish with overtones the Venutres put into their sci-fi meets C & W work in the 1960’s. “Freedom” – another Hendrix title but not the Hendrix tune (though Jimi’s song would fit so nicely into Psycho Merchants repertoire,(
This “Freedom” is more macho-rock with muted guitar sludge over a melodic, repeating chorus/chant. Anthemic hard-metal with attitude. “Hit Me” continues the attack while “Round & Round” (not the Ratt tune, nor Chuck Berry’s “Around & Around” that the Stones had so much fun with) is a departure from the sound of the rest of the disc, a rhythmic, pulsating exploration of dark karma with a repeating chorus.
The cover of Led Zeppelin’s classic, “Thank You,” has bassist Frank Gagliardi doing a nice Felix Pappalardi run in a standout track – a thoughtful Zep reprise with the group Mountain’s overtones. Hupp gives very nice Robert Plant inflections while Te4esco admirably cops Jimmy Page’s tender and tough guitar picking.
The music of Psycho Merchants is not for the timid. Industry veterans who turn the amps up to 11 and are clearly having fun while doing so.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.