Sometimes I hear a great Death Metal record, and I say “That’s a pretty great Death Metal record. But do I want to hear it again?” Often the answer is yes, but then the question becomes “Do I want to hear it again… right now?” There are fewer yes’s to that one. But fucking 200 Stab Wounds, man! Those riffs! Jesus Christ!
But before I start going off about the riffs, I need to mention… the riffs! Look, I’m a guitarist. My ear goes to the guitar 100% of the time, right off the bat, and I’m telling you, every single track on this album is a fucking riff tsunami! Now, is one of these riffs better than any of the others? Listen to “Itty Bitty Pieces,” and let that shit kick you in the teeth for a few minutes. I’m serious. As soon as you’re able, listen to “Itty Bitty Pieces,” or “Expired Splatter,” or “Tow Rope Around the Throat,” then maybe what I’m about to tell you will make more sense.
Fuck no, there are no “best riffs,” man! The whole thing is carnage! In fact, ironically, damn near the only break 200 Stab Wounds gives us is on a tune called “Paths to Carnage,” and even then for only about fifty seconds. The entire album is less than a half hour long, and it punches you in the fucking throat the entire time. It does not give a fuck about your puny human need to breathe fresh air. And do you know what 200 Stab Wounds thinks about your fresh air? I saw a photo of their merch booth a couple days ago. One of their T-shirts says “Riffs From The Septic Tank” on the back.
“Slave to the Scalpel” succeeds in the same way as “Violence Unimagined” by Cannibal Corpse did earlier this year. It checks all of the boxes, like a good boy, but it does so using the blood and vomit of its enemies. No, it’s not a perfect record! That’s what makes it so fucking perfect! It’s grotesque, and it’s messy, and unapologetic, and ridiculously pulverising the whole way through.
If you’re in a band and someone says of your album “the only gripe I have is that it’s too short,” please resist the urge to take that as a compliment. Would you shrug it off if that same person said the album was too long? Too short is a real gripe, man! Therefore, I cannot in good conscience give 200 Stab Wounds a perfect rating. Its shortness fell short, but it’s probably fair to consider that twenty seven minutes is plenty of time to just sit there and allow yourself to be beaten relentlessly.
“Slave to the Scalpel” will be released on November 12th on Maggot Stomp Records.