Deadly Blessing / Optimus Prime (14) ‎– Psycho Drama

Divebomb Records ‎– DIVE143
2 × CD, Compilation, Deluxe Edition

Companies, etc.



Deluxe edition collection of the Larry Betson band era, including never before released demo and live tracks.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Printed): 7 11576 01432 1
  • Barcode (Scanned): 711576014321



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March 5, 2018
edited 9 days ago
A must for Deadly Blessing fans

Released in 2017, PSYCHO DRAMA is a two-disk collection of material from New Jersey’s Deadly Blessing following the departure of their iconic-yet-polarizing frontman, Ski (aka Norman Kiersznowski).

DISC ONE features the two Deadly Blessing demos from 1990 with new singer Larry Betson. The first six tracks are the PSYCHO DRAMA demo, but the first and sixth tracks are a brief piano-oriented intro and a sweet acoustic epilogue. The vocals on the four proper songs sure sound like Ski to me, which shows that Betson can mimic Ski perfectly. This material on PSYCHO DRAMA is pretty much on par with Deadly Blessing’s exceptional debut album ASCEND FROM THE CAULDREN (1988), both composition-wise and production-wise.

The next five songs are the MECHANICAL SOLUTIONS demo wherein the production is solid for a demo, but not as good as PSYCHO DRAMA. It’s clear on these five tracks that Ski is not the singer, yet Betson does a very competent job. Whoever the lyricist is, however, lowers the standard by resorting to juvenile cussing on two of the tracks (“FA-Q” and “Nothing to Fear”). Personally, I can handle this for a couple songs and therefore don’t much care; I’m just informing potential buyers.

The last six tracks on DISC ONE are live tracks with Betson on vox, which are essentially bonus tracks. The other songs on DISC ONE I easily give a grade of A- despite the rough production.

FYI: For those not in the know, after Ski’s departure he formed the kick-axx Altered State, which released one album WINTER WARLOCK (which was only independently released at the time, but officially released in 2012). Altered State was even more intense than Deadly Blessing, but arguably not as good songwise (although “Off With His Head” is just as good as practically anything Deadly Blessing did). In the mid-2000s Ski formed Faith Factor and released an EP and full-length album. They were heavier and a little slower than Deadly Blessing, but debatably just as good in their own way. Ski is currently the vocalist for NE Ohio's Rightful Heir. Check 'em out on Youtube and brace yourself for their debut album IN THE NAME OF THE BLOOD.

DISC TWO features material from Optimus Prime, the band that emerged from the ashes of Deadly Blessing. If you can imagine Deadly Blessing trying to be a 90’s grunge band, that’s what Optimus Prime sounds like. The band Hades (also from New Jersey) did the same thing when they morphed into Nonfiction for two albums in the early/mid 90s. But Optimus Prime is more technical than Nonfiction.

The first seven songs are the original Optimus Prime demo and the production is excellent, even better than on PSYCHO DRAMA. The last four songs are live tracks.

BOTTOM LINE: Since this two-disk release is comprised of three solid demos mixed with live tracks, it’s pretty much a hodgepodge production-wise. And the two bands – Deadly Blessing and Optimus Prime – are noticeably different stylistically, hailing from two distinct eras in rock/metal. Nevertheless, this is a must for fans of Deadly Blessing who finally get "new" material after the outstanding debut ASCEND FROM THE CAULDRON.