CD Review: Psychostick “IV: Revenge of the Vegeance”

“IV: Revenge of the Vegeance”
Rock Ridge Music
Produced By: Joshua Key, Patrick Murphy and Psychostick
Tracks: 21

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The first track would lead you to believe you’re about to listen to a movie and make you question, “Did we miss a prequel or maybe the first of some trilogy?” Nope. Psychostick is just doing what they do best. Taking a bunch of funny ideas and slapping them together in a chaotic, but structured order of silliness. For nearly a decade and a half, the self-proclaimed humorcore band, has never abided by any rules and have once again created an album generously dipped in comical lyrics and melodic bass slapping metal.

This time, the comedy is a lot more mindless, when in the past it seemed to be lampooning specific targets. The closest they get to critiquing anyone or anything is in “So. Heavy.”, a song parodying the concept of being the heaviest sounding metal band by simply tuning your guitar into non-existent levels and stretching one’s vocals chords to the point of unintelligible lyrics. That’s not to say they don’t have a smidgen of appreciation for the deathcore and metalcore bands that are popular for doing that.

“Obey the Beard”, “Quack Kills” and “President Rhino” have lyrics that “Weird Al” would write with the musical sensibilities of System of a Down and GWAR. “Blue Screen” plays like that Top 40 break-up single by Three Days Grace that you hear on the radio, but instead of a tattooed heart breaking vixen, it’s the emotional pain of a nerd and his computer that has gotten the blue screen of death. By choosing from such a bizarre palette of ideas and constantly expanding their horizons into the other styles, Psychostick has carved a nice little slice of their own brand of music into the landscape.

The band brings a rock show energy with the drive of a stand-up comedian that’s constantly sharpening their skills. With that in mind, there’s bound to be a couple of speed bumps on that path. “Loathe Thy Neighbor” is the longest and most odd paced song on the album and the second half of the CD is not as strong as the first half. The album does end on a strong note with the band trying their hand at something new. “Dimensional Time Portal” and “The Power of Metal Compels You” closes everything out as a screwy mini story arc about a portal that will pretty much ruin life for heterosexual men.

There are so many little things that make this more than your run-of-the-mill laugh and enjoy album. For example, in the lyric book, for the song “Choking Hazard”, it simply displays the pamphlet image of what to do in the event of someone choking. This unpredictable, jokey style they incorporate spills over into their live show and after four albums, they show no wear and tear in their funny bone and no signs of decelerating those head banging riffs. I could ramble a little more, but you’re better off experiencing this yourself. So go buy it already.

Track Listing:
Revenge of the Vengeance
Obey the Beard
President Rhino
So. Heavy.
Dogs Like Socks
Super Legit OFFICIAL Teaser #2 Explod
Quack Kills
Blue Screen
Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins Cover)
New to the Neighborhood
Loathe Thy Neighbor
Choking Hazard
Fight to the Death
Bruce Campbell
Trick or Treat
Dimensional Time Portal
The Power of Metal Compels You
Outtakes IV: The Outtakening

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