Psychostick – IV: Revenge of the Vengeance

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Rock Ridge Music

Review by Rick Ossian

Buy the CD HERE and the MP3 HERE

Psychostick are one of those rare beasts that practically defies pigeon-holing, or categorizing, or genre-defining- rather, they are genre-benders, if you will. They are not so much an “ordinary” Metal band. They refer to themselves as “comedy Hardcore Metal“, which will suffice for the moment if you need a tag for them. In my humble opinion, they are just as much life coaches as they are a band per se. To me they teach us life’s little lessons. For example, if “you feel alone/neglected? GROW A BEARD!!”. Granted, this seems to be their answer to many of life’s little dilemma’s. It is a song, after all. Not one unfamiliar to Psychostick fans, either – this track has appeared before. Psychostick, for those of you keeping track, are Rawrb on vocals, The J on guitars, Schmalex on drums and Matty J “Moose” on bass. They are from Tempe, Arizona and they can ROCK with the best of them.

They are also rather humorous.

Snippets of their craft are oftentimes heard between tunes proper, such as the nod to Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and down-tuning in H-Flat, or the movie house preview voice in the intro (title track) and Super Legit Official Teaser #2 Explode. There are also shorter tunes like Dogs Like Socks. Again, life lessons. Perhaps lessons that we’ve already learned, in some cases. Also on board are brief guest appearances by none other than the great Bill Manspeaker of Green Jello fame (NFSW, New to the Neighborhood and Trick or Treat). He appears to be on board for one reason in particular: to drop the F-bomb on numerous occasions, and generally to wreak havoc amongst his fellows by doing so! His return to the world of music gives me hope that we will soon see and hear another Green Jello outing!

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As for the tunes proper, there are several. The album itself contains 21 tracks in total, but as we can discern from above, some are more musical interludes than anything else. In President Rhino, we get a pedal-to-the-Metal slam about creatures in our political world. News interviews and elections ensue, of course, but one can’t help but wonder if the animal kingdom has other candidates to offer that might be a bit more, erm, subtle? We are also presented with quite possibly the heaviest song EVER (So Heavy). Though the heaviness factor may be a bit exaggerated, work with me on this one – Heavy features guttural, Cookie Monster-style vocals (he even says ‘WANT A COOKIE?‘ at one point), breakdowns, jams more akin to a Mexican standoff between guitar and drums, and a send-up of the song Shout to boot (“Stop the bass/Jog in place”).

Quack Kills is apparently an ode to being stalked by ducks. Evidently our subject was once “attacked” by a flock of these birds and hasn’t been able to shake it from his memory, or his life. He’s afraid, of course, but the voices pester him continuously, even urging him to “FEED the ducks. He goes to see a shrink, and – you guessed it – he’s also a duck! Vocal breakdowns and jams abound, but one gets the impression that the ducks have won this one…

Blue Screen, intriguingly enough, is an ode to the subject’s love for his computer! It is a showcase for the bass prowess of Moose, as are several of the tracks on board, and is also just a really wicked jam in general. There is a brief guitar solo (1:25), but for the most part it is a computer blues/rock of sorts. This particular malady is probably a nightmare for many of our readers, especially when the PC breaks down completely, and has to be reset from the beginning. I am speaking from the voice of experience in this particular case, and am reminded that hard drives are NOT miracles of tech that should be taken for granted! To suggest that we are IN love with our PC’s (“formatting my heart/in partition dead in two”) may be taking things a bit too far, you might say? Perhaps. Just wait until you wake up to this some morning, then you tell me!

NFSW, for lack of a better summary, is an ode to the word fuck. Those of you in the know will recognize the word as an elusive one, as it can function as almost any type of word (noun, verb, pronoun, etc.). For this particular number, there ARE no other lyrics, save for a SHIT at the close. As it should be!

This brings us to a cover of the Kenny Loggins‘ tune, Danger Zone. Why, you might ask? Precisely the question that was on my mind. Hearing it actually reminded me of the Tom Cruise movie from whence it came (Days of Thunder), and this is a fairly traditional/faithful cover, save for the ending, when things sort of fall apart. Before it is all over, we begin to realize that a send-up of Take My Breath Away has ensued. Again, I am forced to wonder why?

Loathe Thy Neighbor features some intriguing lyrics (Get off my ass/Go back in your home/Close your blinds/Lock your doors/Stay in your home/Leave me alone) and more super-cool bass work! AWESOME is just that – a list of things that are awesome, and how the subject wants all of these awesome things to be given to him! Of course, the not-so-awesome things you can keep. Among the awesome items? Monster trucks (of course), bubble wrap (kind of awesome), blow jobs, staplers (??), fighter jets, and nachos!

Choking Hazard is another of life’s little lessons, only this time we are taught about how to save one of our fellows should they succumb to this particular malady. In fact, instructions (Steps 1,2 and 3) are even given!  The Heimlich Manoeuvre ensues, as well as a discussion on blues and purples. Lesson learned here is to take it easy with cheese pizza!

Fight to the Death may appear silly to some, especially when it is learned what items are being fought over. First it is over the last slice of pizza, which is understandable. The last can of beer in the fridge is also something which I’ve seen fisticuffs over. However, dishes in the sink, and getting the mail? I don’t see these as worthy of mortal combat, but maybe it’s just me! In the end, it’s just a ‘fight to the death over various stuff‘, so again we see structure breaking down right before our eyes. Perhaps a fight over structure, then?

Bruce Campbell is about “the finest man to grace the silver screen”. Our hero was, of course, the star of one of my all-time favourite movies, Army of Darkness. This song gives me a distinct stalker vibe, as our subject is obviously more than just enamored by our hero. A kazoo solo/breakdown of sorts brings me to realize that I’ve indeed heard it all. In the end we see our subject building a town in Sir Bruce’s honour. What’s the name of this fair city? Why, BruceCampbellville, of course!

Dimensional Time Portal is something that has probably crossed every Metalhead’s mind; the prospect that some alien force could actually invade our world and affect our females’ libidos!  Should we nuke it?  The phenomena takes place during an outdoor music festival, and in the end our heroes close the rift in time with Metal. A fitting end to an incomparable disaster! This track is actually sort of a companion piece to the tune that follows, the mighty track The Power of Metal Compels You. It includes a sweet thrashing riff (guitar and drums) intro, some serious bass playing, and a Ghostbusters reference, of all things. There is also an official victory breakdown, and some brief TV news lady blurb again. In the end, though our heroes assume they have saved the world, we DO hear a big bomb going off…

The outtakes (IV – the Outtakening) is brought to you by Psychostick Industries, purveyor of ‘stupid Metal songs’. It is vaguely humorous, if nothing else. This is just a sampling of what Psychostick do best – making you laugh while they jam their asses off!

*****/5

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