Skitzo
Five Point Containment

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how I have never heard of this band until now. Hailing from the Bay Area with origins dating back to at least 1980 when they were originally named Venom (until stumbling into a record store and looking around), they’ve gone through an absurd number of line up changes (sixty-eight members!) and recorded an astounding seventeen albums – I’m almost slightly afraid to tackle a review of a band I’ve never heard of that has so much history.Stylistically, Skitzo is all over the map of pure old school metal – Motorhead, Judas Priest, Metallica, Slayer, Overkill, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, and yes, Venom – these are all bands that have a hand in Skitzo’s sound. Explosive, ass-kicking guitar work is everywhere here and the vocals range from high wails (“Crimson Executioner” and “Curse of the Phoenix”) to demonic sounding growls (“We Are the Dead” and the verses of “Head of Laci”) and black metal rasps (“Catacombs”) to standard 80’s thrash fare (“Metallic Tyrants” and “Vengeance Is Mine”). Musically, “Gag Like a Maggot” thrashes hard, as do the covers of Blind Illusion’s “Vengeance Is Mine” and Motorhead’s “Iron Fist”; “Curse of the Phoenix” is on the slower side, as is the eerie sounding instrumental, “Messiah of Evil” and the beginning parts of “Breeding the Disease” before heading into punk-ish territory. “Head of Laci” serves up an anthemic, fist-raising chorus, while “Stab Her Goodnight”, lyrically, is just that – “stab her goodnight” delivered in tongues.

I must say – I dig the shit out of this album, but my favorite aspect has got to be the production – it’s gritty, but clear and fitting of the music – you can actually hear the bass at any given moment! This is the kind of production I wish I could hear more of from the bands of today.

For veteran metal fans, there is absolutely nothing here you haven’t heard before, but there’s a lot of variety – something the band provides in spades, not to mention it’s just a flat out fun album to listen to, because you never know what’s coming next. Certainly not essential, but definitely something worth owning for fans of true-blue, beer-swilling, leather-wearing, ass-kicking old school metal. This is gonna end up somewhere on my year end list, no doubt. Highly recommended.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
October 29th, 2007

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