200 Stab Wounds
Manual Manic Procedures

Ohio continues to be one of the main hotbeds for quality American death metal bands.  I am new to the 200 Stab Wounds bandwagon and it was 2022/2023 when the band came onto my radar.  The label breeding ground for death metal bands getting signed to bigger labels is Maggot Stomp Records. 200 Stab Wounds Piles of Festering Decomposition ep in 2020, on that label, was so good a year later they dropped their debut album Slave to the Scalpel onto the same label.  Things took off for the band as they started to tour and play lots of shows.

They play a pretty damn brutal form of death metal and before you know it major label Metal Blade Records poaches them and here we are with the second album Manual Manic Procedures.  The band keeps their releases fairly brief with this 9 song affair clocking in at 30 minutes.  It’s the perfect length for brutal death metal.  I recently saw the band live on their tour with Dying Fetus and the first song of the 200 Stab Wounds set, was just about to begin, the first note had not been played, and a monster circle pit already started.  That is how you start your set folks!!!!  The band was wonderful live and had a really good connection with the crowd.

“Hands of Eternity”, one of the first 2 songs initially released prior to this album, begins softly with atmosphere, light guitars, and some light cymbal hits.  The mid-paced moments come in, but are still fairly light until the 1.30 mark, which resembles Bolt Thrower with the tank-sized groove-laden heaviness.  The song is jumpy-quality stop and start riffage happening.  Halfway through the song the vocals of Steve Buhl finally hit and he has a nice delivery.  Brutal, gruff, yet understandable.  The mid-paced groove gives way to some brutal blasting, dual-layered vocal effects then back into a slower pace, then back into the blast—the tank-sized groove heaviness returns, destined to move pits worldwide.  The isolated vocal delivery around the four-minute mark is catchy, then right into the faster moments.  The song returns to a massive groove, with some nice guitar melodies.  The song ends as it began.  Great opener.

“Gross Abuse” wastes no time with atmospheric intros.  This goes straight for the jugular and in the first 30 seconds, there are a plethora of tempo shifts.  That groove that hits at the 50 second mark will topple skyscrapers, just like Godzilla does on a daily basis.  The jumpy groove moments – I want to see a live video of this song played at an overseas fest.  I can imagine the waves of bodies crashing into one another.  Brutal bliss. “Manual Manic Procedures” is a great title track.  The beginning has an opening similar to something off of Symphonies of Sickness by Carcass, especially with that distorted isolated bass guitar moment.  It’s almost like an homage.  The heavy sludge gives way to a quicker pace and we even get a nifty guitar solo.  This morphs into a monster blast beat, the good ‘ole Ohio Brutality kick you in the teeth, sort of brutality.  Short song – great, as it delivers a quick knockout!!

“Flesh from Within” starts with a butt-kicking guitar riff.  The old school pacing of this song brings a grin to my face every time I listen to this song.  The vocals are a little more brutal on this song.  The groove, into the blast, towards the end of the song is excellent.  “Parricide” ends the album and this has the best of moments all slapped together with this song.  Catchy tempo changes, heavy groove moments, with a lot of jumpiness to those riffs.  The rhythm section at the 1.40 section is mauling.  The isolated guitar riff at the 3.05 section is the Holy Shit moment, especially when the growl comes in and the song ends with some Slayeresque feedback.

The brutal album cover says it all and if you blink you may not catch a glimpse of the clever band logo, in red, blending right into that cover.  This is a true brutal death metal album with a brutal death metal cover.  This has that 90’s flair written all over it.  200 Stab Wounds are not reinventing the brutal death wheel by any stretch of the imagination.  What the band does so well is create memorable moments that the listener can latch onto immediately.  A song does not have a bajillion notes to them.  The band knows how to stick with a riff and they know how to bludgeon the listener with creative catchiness.  I feel the hype for 200 Stab Wounds is justified and Manual Manic Procedures is here to grind you to pulp and spit your body out through a thin straw.  Vicious!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
June 24th, 2024


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