200 Stab Wounds / Ripping Up Trees In Manual Manic Procedures

They have created quite the buzz in the short time they have been operational. But there is no doubt 200 Stab Wounds from Cleveland, Ohio, possess the confidence that is essential to propel a band into the spotlight. Of course, it’s not just that which is needed, and in their second album, Manual Manic Procedures, the quartet shows in 29 minutes why they are currently ripping up trees. 

200 Stab Wounds – Manual Manic Procedures (Metal Blade Records)

Release Date – 28 June 2024

Words: Paul Hutchings

Let’s be honest. There is nothing hugely original about 200 Stab Wounds. Their name is typically provocative of the genre, their album cover is a gory concoction which leaves little to the imagination, and their music is generally defiantly formed from Old School Death Metal.

200 Stab Wounds – Manual Manic Procedures album cover
200 Stab Wounds – Manual Manic Procedures. There is a contemporary element, as well as groove and melodic power, lurking here. 

They combine punishingly short tracks with a couple of thick, sinewed, longer songs, which add heft to the running order. But listen carefully, dig below the surface, and 200 Stab Wounds are not just a blistering fist of blast beats and riffs. There is a contemporary element, as well as groove and melodic power, lurking here. 

Thematically, it is what you’d expect. Classic gore-Metal horror subject matter. It’s brutal, uncompromising and ferociously aggressive. The opening track, Hands Of Eternity, is explosive, a song about being trapped in one’s own mind.

The chainsaw guitar work of Steve Buhl and Raymond MacDonald does what’s expected, whilst Buhl’s gravel-soaked growls are in the best Corpsegrinder style. Lyrics are spewed forth; the drums are pummelled with Owen Pooley’s kick pedals working overtime. It’s heavy, full of punishing riffs, but balanced with some surprising changes to the tempo which provide something just a little different.

The pulverising bursts on Gross Abuse will surely get those pits swirling, a song described by Buhl as a “basic Death Metal torture song. That song is so simple, heavy and groovy. It’s your standard torture-fucking-murder-fucking-death Metal song about killing somebody.”

It’s followed by a strange segue into the title track, which surprises, although once it gets going, it is a real hammer to the skull in terms of aggression and sheer velocity of delivery.

The tempo is relentless as the tracks pile in before a real change hits you with the instrumental Led To The Chamber / Liquified. A complete diversion from the barrage that precedes it, there is an eerie, haunting atmosphere as it collapses in a cacophony of extremity. 

Normal service is resumed as 200 Stab Wounds power for the finish line.

The blistering Flesh From Within rips the skin, whilst the penultimate track, Ride The Flatline, sees Code Orange’s Jami Morgan add guest vocals on a song inspired by a chemical spill in the Ohio River.

This leads to the battering of Parricide, a song described as being about “someone going into a nursing home, and just blowing it up. The lyrics are about those types of corporations that don’t really give a fuck about those people. It’s all just a money grab.”

At times, Manual Manic Procedures feels very predictable. At other times, it switches completely, yet at other times, it’s almost out of control, unsafe and slightly dangerous. This combination makes it quite the listen.

There are moments of confusion and of delight, all underpinned by subject matter of the darkest style.

It’s easy to see why 200 Stab Wounds are creating those ripples. They don’t follow the conformist route despite their love of the old school. And that mix of contemporary sound with a deeply reverential nod to the influences of old works in their favour.

200 Stab Wounds – Manual Manic Procedures – Pre-orders are available from Metal Blade Records.

Sleeve Notes

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