Psychostick: Space Vampires vs. Zombie Dinosaurs
I encountered this band when I went to see Screaming Mechanical Brain from Minneapolis. SMB is indeed an awesome band and can be compared to acts like Mindless Self Indulgence, they just got off a two year hiatus and I was pretty excited to see them at Norms a couple of months back. As far as Psychostick, well, just the name had me a little apprehensive as what to expect from this Arizona group that constantly tours around the nation.
SMB rocked their set at Norms and then Psychostick set up and began their show with what is the second song off their album “Space Vampires vs. Zombie Dinosaurs” with the aptly titled “Welcome to the Show.” I’ll say right off that these guys have a total understanding of not only how to work a crowd, but it’s almost as if at least one of them has a degree in psychology or something but I’ll explain that later. The unofficial term for the genre Psycostick plays is “humorcore” I can think of bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Guttermouth and Nofx who have definitely fallen under this sub-genre of punk/metal.
“Welcome to the Show” is basically a warm up song that begins with the lyrics, “What’s up bitches? We are Psychostick. I like to yell things in the microphone and say bad words, monkey f**ker.” The song breaks down into the lyrics of “live shows are heavy, f**k yeah we’re a concert!‚Ä¶Start up a mosh pit, mosh pits are bad ass.” Later in the song the lead singer known as Rawrb directs the “live” audience to “make some f**king noise!” to which Rawrb replies, “thanks that helps my self esteem.” He also directs the audience to make the metal horns, show their middle fingers, take out their cars keys and jingle them, put them away and then give someone in the audience a hug, to the last of which Rawrb says, “you guys are sweet.” This song is really hard to truly understand if you haven’t seen the band live, but I can’t recall such rapid on the move audience participation at a show.
Moving on to the rest of this album that shows incredible immaturity yet undeniable wisdom and insight on current everyday things. One of these things includes social networking sites. The next track on the album is “Sadface :(“ and yes, it is a song dealing with people’s abuse and exploitation of social networking sites. The song cuts away to ripoff certain more mainstream tunes, for example, “hey you, what do you read? Something negative or something bleak,” to the tune of Marilyn Mason’s “Beautiful People.” The song goes right back into their own original material. Part of the chorus goes, “sad face emoticon, I’m rebooting my social life and you don’t belong.” The song ends off a list of things including, “complaining about the weather, fighting with your lover, griping about the government, printing about the environment, ‘I hate my parents,’ ‘I lost my wallet,’ ‘I’m totally bored’” and so on. Needless to say, they make a point. It should be noted that all this music is backed by tight yet somewhat accessible metal.
The next track is funky in the verses and shreds out some metal in chorus parts. It’s titled “Because Boobs,” and that’s what the song is about. This song goes into a track that’s called “Intervention for a Good Mood.” The band confronts one of it’s members and tells him that his positive mood isn’t working for metal. The band urges him to find things that he hates, to which the member replies, “I hate not eating cupcakes‚Ä¶I hate when the day goes pretty good.” Finally they get him to agree that he hates warm beer.
This intervention goes straight into the song “Hate Times 8,” an extremely amusing and intense metal song about a bunch of ridiculous things such as “don’t you hate when your mom bakes you a cake and the frosting is great?” or “don’t you hate when you buy real estate with a loan with a high interest rate?” The best part is when the Rawrb sings “and I hate breakdowns!” which goes straight into a thrashy metal breakdown.
The next track plays off between a riff you’d expect in a teen comedy romance show and fairly harsh metal. Likewise, the lyrics detail a somewhat twisted fairytale image of relationships and then blends in with a harsh chorus line that is also lined with positivity. “Pull your head out of your ass, get a life or something, meet some friends and chase your dreams because you won’t get chicks with your low self esteem.”
The “Political Bum,” is a song about a wasted conspiracy theorist. “I tried to get away but he followed me holding up a sign ‘will eat for food,’ my avoidance only seemed to fuel his passion and I braced myself for another barrage of confusing rhetoric,” speaks Rawrb. Likewise the track “That Guy” is about people the band find kind of annoying. It should be noted that Psychostick is best known for their track “BEER!” which actually has over four million views on Youtube. The band has apparently grown resentful of being associated with just that song and not their other material.
The following track “Six Pound of Terror” is nothing more than the family dog, which is probably small considering the title of the song, growling, accompanied by some more metal. The song after that, “Methane Crescendo” is about dealing with flatulence while on tour in a van.
The track “My Clingy Girlfriend” is a little more laid back and contemplative as far as the instruments go in the verse parts but gets a little heavy in the chorus. It’s the story of a guy falling for a girl and then having second thoughts. The song ends with, “then she told me she would murder my whole family, my coworkers, and the girl who took my order that day at Wendy’s and she set the house on fire and went screaming right outside and I felt I guilty as the flames reflected off her teary eyes, so I took her back.”
Do you kind of hate the the Drowning Pool song “Bodies?” I kind of do, but what Psychostick does with it with the track “Numbers (I can only count to four),” somehow makes the song bearable. Just substitute “Let the bodies hit the floor” with “I can only count to four,” and you get the idea.
The last track is almost nine minutes of outtakes for the album, which is pretty fun to listen to. I didn’t really get into all the sound effects, breakdowns and all the other things that went into this album.
In the end, this album creates an undeniable experience for the listener. It’s certainly not the most profound thing I’ve ever listened to, but I’ve listened to things that were trying to be profound that fell short of this album. If that doesn’t make sense, give a few tracks a listen. Although it’s probably geared mostly towards a younger male audience, most anyone who has some sort of sense of humor and isn’t totally annoyed by a little bit of metal might like some of these songs. I’d recommend checking this album out on Youtube. The actual CD is $5 and can be found on psychostick.com and it’s worth it.