How many stab wounds is too many? For most people, the answer is probably any amount larger than zero. 200 Stab Wounds are not like the rest of you. They, more than most, like to keep it leaky and well-ventilated. The Cleveland death metal band debuted their blood sopping, stonking, stinking mess of a sound with an EP last year titled Piles of Festering Decomposition. They now follow it up with a full nine-course meal of maggot fodder tidied up in barbed wire bindings with their debut LP Slave to the Scalpel.
Their most recent record differs from their past work only in its more obvious lack of restraint and hesitation, otherwise, it displays the same glinting polish of slicing, bisecting attack. This is the same great band, driving home the same iron-flavored melee and shot to the mouth- one aimed at splitting your tongue and decorating your shoelaces with your teeth.
200 Stab Wounds are not the grossest sounding death metal band in the United States simply by virtue of Pissgrave being an actual, existing thing- but this is not for lack of trying- “Skin Milk,” the opening track on Slave to the Scalpel, literally begins with an audio clip of someone describing brain surgery. This is a very menacing way to begin an album, and it only gets sicker from there.
“Stifling Stew” is a garroting grind of gore-mangling grooves that gurgles and pops like a vat of putrid, meat slurry. “Itty Bitty Pieces” contains within itself a series of large, sequential, sonic blows that impact your skull like a phalanx of flesh golems, each wielding a tenderizing mallet, and each bringing it to bear with deadly precision.
Later, “Phallic Filth” explores the phenomena associated with having (and possibly losing) male genitalia in a way that is only slightly more dignified and constrained than Sanguisugabogg’s “Menstrual Envy.”
All of these tracks build towards a gruesome climax, with the title track and “Drilling Your Head” delivering a piercing, two-pronged dirge of heart exploding, demonic, cattle-prod currents directly into the center of your chest.
After a run-in with Slave to the Scalpel, an open casket funeral service is going to be out of the question. You’ll need to think more along the lines of an open pail ceremony because your last rights are going to look like someone pouring extra chunky Ragù into a hole in the ground.
Buy and stream Slave to the Scalpel via Bandcamp below: