Psyched to Death - "Zen and the Art of Being a Fuck Up" (Year One)
Most people will come to Psyched to Die through the Mikey Erg connection. But beyond an unfortunate sharing of personnel, similarities between the Ergs and Psyched to Die end there. Their pedigree – a combination of New Jersey pop-punk bands that no one should care about – is irrelevant. If anything, Psyched to Die is a culmination of the frustration these dudes must have felt putting out boring record after boring record. They’re out for blood this time, their own included.
Year One compiles the Sterile Walls EP released on Grave Mistake earlier this year, an impending EP on Dirtnap, and a handful of demos. Fifteen songs, less than half an hour, and no filler. Just smart, straightforward punk anthems taking society down a notch. The band got more than just a name from the Deep Wound song they borrowed from; they got a whole fucked-up worldview.
You could argue that the nihilism gets a little redundant by the end, but they’ve got a lot of angles to cover: there’s the suicide-as-escapism themes of death anthem “Permanent Solution”; a “Five Year Plan” only a depressed son of Stalin would think up; one song called “Admitting Defeat,” and another that’s just straight up “Defeated.” They’ve even got an instructive little how-to on “Zen and the Art of Fucking Up.”
Then there’s the Slim Pickens fantasy of dropping the nukes themselves in “Onward Armageddon.” When they’re shouting “want to die with the rest of you / when Armageddon finally comes,” you almost believe they actually want to put an end to it all. And by the time Psyched to Die’s half-hour is up, they’ve made as compelling a case as one can make for what has to be the world’s most idiotic idea.