Album review: 200 Stab Wounds – Manual Manic Procedures

Gore-obsessed Cleveland death metallers 200 Stab Wounds continue their bloodstained rise with scalpel-sharp second album.

Album review: 200 Stab Wounds – Manual Manic Procedures
Sam Law

Violence leaks from every seam of 200 Stab Wounds’ claret-stained second album. Viscera pulses from the clenched fists of unflinching opener Hands Of Eternity. Congealed gore drips the Gross Abuse’s pickaxe attack. Hammer smashed bones spike through the 10-ton riffs of the title-track.

But the sonic psycopathy is marshalled with surgical precision this time out. If 2021’s Slave To The Scalpel often felt like the work of sickos happy to luxuriate in the rot, these nine songs are the result years on the road learning the fastest way to any listener’s heart is right through the ribcage.

Much has been made of shared values between the worlds of death metal and hardcore recently, with the Cleveland killers at the serrated edge of that chaotic crossover. Rather than stitching two-step rhythms and cement-mixer breakdowns into their music, though, 200SW steer into hardcore’s hit-and-run sensibility. Release The Stench does its business – turning your stomach inside-out – in a speedy 151 seconds. Flesh From Within does something similar, adding a twangy 30-second outro to catch breath and gather guts before the next onslaught. Even creepy two-part pivot Led To The Chamber / Liquefied balances synthy atmospherics and slicing six-strings with zero bagginess.

Hardcore’s real-world awareness spills in, too. Featuring a monstrous cameo from Code Orange’s Jami Morgan, penultimate banger (and second single) Ride The Flatline references a February 2023 train derailment and chemical spill that saw the Ohio river – one of the main arterial waterways in the Midwestern United States – caught in a toxic blaze. There’s no time for hand-wringing, mind, as spectacular closer Parricide buries us beneath the biggest riffs of the whole album with a blinkered relentlessness and eerie samples that would do Slayer proud.

There’s some bold signalling in that parent-offing song title, too. Death metal’s old guard have had their day in the slaughterhouse. It’s time for a new generation to rise.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Carcass

Manual Manic Procedures is released on June 28 via Metal Blade

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