PSYCHIATRIC REGURGITATION are an unsigned band from Dallas, Texas, who sent me the songs from their new debut album not long ago, describing the music as sort of like a cross between Death/Decrepit Birth and Exhumed/Carcass/Impaled.
The music happened to arrive in one of those rare moments when I wasn’t right in the middle of something else, and the description sounded like my kinda thing. So, I listened to a few tracks and got a big smile from what I heard — and not just from the sample that starts off the opening title track, “Stabbed In the Eyes With A Crack Pipe”.
Despite the humorous samples and song titles — including the unforgettable “Smoke Crack, Worship Satan, Kill People” — the music is seriously good death metal. It’s a rapid-fire blast of skull-hammering brutality delivered with blazing technicality, but it also includes catchy melodic riffing, head-spinning solos and progressive instrumental breaks that may take you by surprise, and even a few clobbering slam breakdowns. The barking-dog vocals are cool, too (big, rabid dogs, to be clear).
When you see names like Death, Decrepit Birth, and Exhumed tossed around in an e-mail out of the blue, you tend to take it with a grain of salt. But Psychiatric Regurgitation have the songwriting and performance chops to back it up.
Stabbed In the Eyes… is more than simply skillful battering. Despite a band name and logo that screams Brutal Death! and that DIY-looking album cover, the band’s creative incorporation of progressive elements, catchy hooks, and tempo dynamics turn the album into something far more than relentless high-tech pummeling. In fact, the biggest question I’ve got about Stabbed In the Eyes… is whether all the non-musical surface elements (including the humorous song titles) are broadcasting a somewhat deceptive message about the music that will unfairly limit its audience.
There is some roughness around the edges. I’m still trying to make up my mind, for example, about the blending of samples and keyboards that ends some tracks and begins others. The juxtaposition with the music can be jarring, but on the other hand it’s part of what makes the album unpredictable, and the surprises in the music are part of what gives the album its appeal.
Whatever preconceptions may be generated by first impressions, this really is excellent shit that deserves to be spread around. Just because Psychiatric Regurgitation don’t take themselves too seriously doesn’t mean the music isn’t seriously good. Indeed, with a debut this promising, I doubt the band will remain unsigned for long.
Psychiatric Regurgitation recorded the album in Austin with Vesperian Sorrow’s drummer Kristoph at Amplitude Studios, and Kristoph also handled keyboards and session drums on the album. The drumming, by the way, is off the hook.
Now, how ’bout some music? If you’ve only got time for one song, I’d recommend “Homicidal Enslavement” or “Murder In the Crackhouse”. But really, the whole album is worth hearing.