With their sophomore album Stranger To Violence, Psalm Zero takes the aesthetics, poetics, and spirit established on their 2014 debut The Drain, and blows up those elements into an epic work of wide-screen drama. It has been two years since that debut, and, in the interim, a series of video and cassette singles called the Birthright Trilogy has built up anticipation for songwriter / vocalist / producer Charlie Looker’s next release. Based in Queens, New York, Psalm Zero provides pummeling drum machine, swirling synths, razor-sharp guitar (courtesy of former member Andrew Hock), and grinding bass as a backdrop for Looker’s crooning baritone voice. Psalm Zero’s unique brand of art-metal has been compared to Godflesh, Katatonia, and Depeche Mode.While Stranger To Violence retains Psalm Zero’s extreme roots, the soaring choruses and massive pop hooks on these seven songs are more emotionally direct than any of the band’s previous work. Harsh vocals are less frequent and reserved for the highest ecstatic peaks. The production style has evolved dramatically as well—in contrast to the band’s original murkier, more lo-fi texture, this album delivers a far crisper, more detailed landscape of synths, samples, and percussive electronics. Psalm Zero has also expanded lyrically, with Looker moving beyond the personal and existential into a more social, global, real-world critical engagement. The new record is tied together by several themes: drug addiction, global financial crisis, Western imperialism, and Jewish identity. The single “Not Guilty” features a video directed by Zev Deans (whose many other credits include Portal and Behemoth), filmed around the alleyways and courthouses of the band’s hometown of New York. Stranger To Violence is a monolithic, cinematic, musical experience, blurring genre boundaries. As demented as it is socially relevant, this album will bring together fans from across multiple different scenes and orientations, further proving that there is nothing out there like Psalm Zero.