Monday, September 17, 2012

Psychiatric Regurgitation - Stabbed in the Eyes with a Crack Pipe (2012)

On its surface, Stabbed in the Eyes with a Crack Pipe might seem like the product of some adorably tongue-in-cheek ghettogrind or gutterslam outfit, but I was quite surprised to find that there's much more to Texans Psychiatric Regurgitation than just a sense of humor. For the most part, this sophomore album shows a clear departure from the taut, grind focused material dominating the self-released 2008 debut Vaginal Fluid: The Sweet Taste of Revenge. The focus here is on weightier compositions, a lot more riffs and variation packed into each, while the quintet maintains a high level of musicianship; most importantly, one can never really predict where the band is going in any given moment, and its unexpected textures and melodies really push it over the precipice from mere brutality and intensity to something worthwhile.

Imagine dowsing the bonesaw oppression of West Coast Carcass-worship royalty Exhumed or Impaled in the progressive death metal of pioneers Death, Atheist or Sadus through the 90s. The Texans coerce a lot of clinical savagery from their guitar passages, harried and calculating without becoming overtly technical to the point that they induce eye rolling from the misplaced string wanking. They cycle through blast beat outbursts to meticulous death/thrash riffing, and the lead sequences are engaging and well-plotted in cuts like "Smoke crack, worship Satan, kill people" or the frenzied bridge in "13 addictions and 5 STDs". The vocals are a brute bark interwoven with sepulchral snarls, redolent of Carcass and Deicide, and the drums have an almost mechanical aptitude which never fails to anchor the constantly shifting landscape of tempos. The bass lines are fluid and acrobatic, not often stretching out their neck on their own, but more than sufficient. Most impressive for me was just the sheer array of riffs these bastards evoke, there have got to be a dozen at least in each song that jerk the listener back to attention if he/she's ever about to doze off.

Lyrically, the album is much like it looks: tales of drugs, drugs, fucking drugs, and all the baggage that comes along with the crack pipe culture and its inevitable aftermath; treated with punishing glee. Samples are lifted from sources both obvious and less so, for example Morgan Freeman's school-top suicide prompt from the 1989 film Lean On Me. Very often these are well-positioned as a setup for the arrival of a particular riffing burst to kick your face on, but occasionally they're more substantial and atmospheric, like the introduction to  "Smoke crack...", which features a synthesizer accompaniment. As comically ironic as some of the titles and packaging of the album might seem, once you get into some of the lyrics like "Schizophrenic withdrawal syndrome", Psychiatric Regurgitation becomes just about as bloody, cruel and sick as you'll find out on the USDM circuit. I would say that some of the songs felt slightly overlong, tracks this choked with ideas can become exhausting after about 5-6 minutes, but otherwise I've not got many complaints, because it is evident that these guys put a tremendous amount of work into this music, and there's something here to sate any of a wide variety of death metal fans, whether they're into sheer nihilistic bludgeoning or aggravated melody.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10] (lust, an emotion sewn to thee)

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