Psycho Survivors – Alive From the Grave (2017)

Many have noted the rise of the music in the intersection between martial industrial, synthwave, dark ambient and dungeon synth which has produced a number of offshoot genres. Coming to us from China, Psycho Survivors (失常幸存者) attempt to meld death metal and synthwave music into a new form that has the techniques of industrial with the compositional sensibilities of death metal.

From the band:

Psycho Survivors is a zombie/Lovecraft themed metal/synthwave hybrid band from China. Its first album, The Cursed Town, is the initial part of a trilogy about what happens in a dying society when the dead come back to life and bring a nameless, pervasive fear to a sleepwalking society.

Zhixin started as a serious guitar player at the age of 16 when he began composing and performing with local rock and heavy metal bands. After living through a chaotic youth, at the age of 26 after a series of tragedies and apocalyptic realizations happened in his life, he decided to take a 180 degree turn to write music in the vein of the underground metal and synthwave music he enjoyed, inspired by both ancient traditions and dark literature. Having left behind the world of normalcy and safety, he has never looked back, and remains a cryptic figure in the local music scene.

Wuai began playing guitar only recently while surviving through a day job in a tobacco company in Shanghai, but he quickly became an aspiring musician when he recognized the magical potential of music as a medium. Busy honing his craft to the level of black magic, he prepares for a final conflict when he will unleash his sonic mayhem on this fallen world.

“Alive From the Grave” is a two-track demo which precedes the upcoming album from Psycho Survivors, The Cursed Town, which has a Lovecraftian/apocalyptic theme:

You are alone in the darkness in a small town far from the city where the lights and concrete shut out the natural world. Something has arisen in the darkness… and it is hungry. You watch in horror as the dead emerge from the grave to destroy the idiocratic citizens of a dying age.

In the world of Psycho Survivors, the difference between human and zombie blurs in this musical tale of dark creatures invading the world. Inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft and Friedrich Nietzsche, The Cursed Town synthesizes heavy metal and darkwave music to create an apocalyptic vision which persists long after the last note ceases to sound.

“I write about stuff in my environment, so the people or places described in the music are based on the real world. In a historical sense, the forces of the zombie cult or dark creatures definitely resemble the cult mentality you can feel in my society, and this is something the herd trying to hide too: the country is in a slump for a long time,” says creator Zhixin.


1.       Alive From the Grave
2.       Night Attack on a Farmhouse
3.       Morning Hospital
4.       In Lady Chen’s Garden Field
5.       The Gate of Nana (Beherit cover)
6.       Flood the Whole Town

The music pulses with the energy of industrial and the gentle melodies in layers of synthwave, but transitions between layer and riff more resemble the death metal pattern of internal dialogue between phrases, which gives this more tangibility as a listening experience than most industrial or synthwave, which by its cyclic nature tends toward more of a background approach.

In addition, melodies resemble more of the dark but naturalistic approach of black metal, which allows these songs to flow and develop from within themselves instead of hammering out a dominating theme. This seems similar to the approach that Beherit took in combining narrative and layered/circular composition in Celebrate the Dead, and is evocative of Tangerine Dream in its general outlook.

For this band to develop further, it might be interesting to see them work in more guitar work including some of the rhythm leads used by bands such as Burzum, and perhaps to find a method around percussion other than the metal-style drumming which underscores much of this work. “Alive From the Grave” is a promising start not just of a band, but perhaps, a new genre.

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16 thoughts on “Psycho Survivors – Alive From the Grave (2017)”

  1. Seth says:

    Hmmm, two reviews in a day. This is novel, it’s almost an anachronism to a decade ago. Perhaps, instead of shooting fish in a barrel with SMRs, we should start picking through the trash like starving Ethipians and submit what few releases that might substantial value.

  2. Steve says:

    This is a fun listen. Reminds me a bit of Goblin , in a good way. Would make a great horror movie soundtrack!

  3. Deport All Hipsters says:

    Sounds interesting as a fan of many genres listed. I’m not really convinced at the first listen but I’ll try to give this another shot.

  4. entertain me says:

    Chinese people are only good as slaves or factory workers instructed mechanically like chimpanzees.

    1. I AM THE BLACK COCKS says:

      They do make good slaves, unlike certain other dusky ethnic groups which will go unnamed.

      1. entertain me says:

        Those are beasts of burden, distinct from the mechanical factory slaves who need to learn something from a manual. Duskies can carry bigger stuff than the first. The first can read and learn. The latter, hardly so

        1. Serious Response says:

          Very concise and elegant elucidation of these scientific facts, sir. I tip my hat.

        2. you're gay says:


          1. Erekt says:

            They are good for fueling the power grid. All the gas from the beans is a potent energy source.

          2. entertain me says:

            Beaners are good for making tacos and burritos.
            They are weaker than negroes but they tend to be more hard-working.
            Remember that the original, real Maya used many of them as beasts of burden for hundreds of year.

            1. Remember that the original, real Maya used many of them as beasts of burden for hundreds of year.

              Caste revolt kills all great civilizations, and the Maya were great.

              1. Misanthrope says:

                Not so great if the caste revolt did them in. Let’s see how Europe fares the influx of migrants/immigrants/invaders/whatever.
                America is self-destructing from TV, fast food and opiates; a much more hilarious way to go than being raped by big brown middle eastern cock. That and being financially bought over by the “mechanical factory slaves” you disparage.

                1. Not so great if the caste revolt did them in.

                  Caste revolt has destroyed every great empire so far, just as it has destroyed the West, Aztecs and Maya. Humanity is still searching for a solution to this persistent problem.

  5. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Betrays its heritage of Chinese pop music. Shifting the key of this brain-liquifying, jumpy synth stuff neither changes its gestalt by a iota nor does it lend any content to it.

  6. Sheriff with Shotgun says:

    2014 U.S.A.: One song written for ‘Psycho Raiders’

  7. Robert says:

    This is actually damn good. Since metal is dead, this is the closest thing to metal today. This is actually more metal than metalcore and all of modern metal. Sad to utter these words but it’s true.

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