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cover 200 Stab Wounds – Slave To The Scalpel


Album Review: 200 STAB WOUNDS Slave To The Scalpel

8.5 Reviewer

Genre revivals are an interesting thing because even in niche culture people want to put the latest trend through their meat grinder and see how it comes out. Death metal has been the metal mainstay for quite a few years now, and the question is how much longer will it remain supreme? There is not much left to do with the genre beyond simply doing it well. After all, the last new strain of doom metal we saw was from bands that took it to its absolute, painful shrieking limits. However, death metal seems content to simply stay and slay. And that is exactly what newcomers 200 Stab Wounds are here to do.

Hang out on Metal Twitter for even a little while and you will come across someone championing Cleveland, OH's 200 Stab Wounds. Comprised of ex-members of bands like Homewrecker and current members of Subtype Zero and Assault, the four-piece formed in 2019 and has released a single EP on the mighty Maggot Stomp titled Festering Piles of Decomposition. It's an excellent short slice of death metal with three equally catchy songs that served as a sampler shot. Over the pandemic, there has been clamoring for more and the band is finally ready to deliver on gore drenched Slave To The Scalpel.

Album Review: 200 STAB WOUNDS Slave To The Scalpel
Photo by Nick McGroder

As previously stated, there is not much left to do with death metal beyond doing it well. Riff up some brutality, pen some lyrics in blood, solos, moshy bits—make it death metal, make it gross. And on that front 200 Stab Wounds is succeeding through and through. Over nine cuts the band serves up banger after banger. "Skin Milk" opens the record with some drumming and audio of a surgical video. Within a few seconds 200 Stab Wounds is into the groove. Steve Buhl's vocals sound even more brutal on here, sounding like they were recorded in a cave. Not only that, but Buhl's ability also to hover between gravely growl and scream kicks up the intensity. And he uses it to great effect throughout the record.

The craftsmanship of the songs is also where 200 Stab Wounds is nailing things to the wall. Take the breakdown in into punchy blast in "Two Rope Around The Throat." The riffs and delivery are like a semi-truck to the face. Meanwhile as the song seems like it is coming to an end the band punches in one more time with a heavy moshing part. It is the kind of stuff that keeps people on their toes, especially at a live show. Other tracks have similar kicks to the ears such as "Paths to Carnage", which switches things up constantly between assault and breakdown.

But that is not to say that the band is all blood and guts. They work in some good b-movie style synth stuff too. Though they exist more as track intros, they do a good job of breaking up the carnage. "Phallic Filth" has a moody little intro that sounds like a castle dungeon torture chamber of gasps, chokes and moans. The aforementioned "Paths to Carnage" has heavy, drowned out chorus driven guitar intro that leads into maybe the most intense track on the whole record. Aptly named.

200 Stab Wounds do what they do very well. And it sounds like they do it even better live, and having heard this record about ten times now, it sounds like it would be a wild show. No, they are not doing anything new with the genre nor did any of us expect them to. What they do, they do damn well though. This is death metal drenched in gore and brutality. The artwork and song titles say it all. You are walking into a slaughterhouse and 200 Stab Wounds is holding the sledgehammer.

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Shout out to photographer Rae Chatten.