Psychostick has been one of my favorite bands for a really long time now. One critic I’ve read recently commented that they’re one of those situations where if you get the joke, you’re going to love them, but if you don’t get the joke, they’re going to be the bane of your existence. That same critic would later refer to Heaven Shall Burn’s “Valhalla” as the worst cover of Amon Amarth ever, forgetting entirely that “Valhalla” was a Blind Guardian song, so take that however you might. All I know is I clearly got the joke, and somehow, it’s managed to remain funny.
In 2014, the gods of “humorcore” set out to build their own home studio. This was also the time when stuff like Indiegogo and Kickstarter had taken off like rockets, which wasn’t without controversy (I still know people who complain about how bad an idea Kickstarter is), but ultimately, Psychostick got more than enough, and accomplished their goal. As a reward for our donations, Psychostick… Covered “Reading Rainbow”. And trust me, only a band like Psychostick could get away with something like that.
The then went into their brand new home studio, and gave us “Psychostick IV: Revenge of the Vengeance”. Often shortened to simply “Revenge of the Vengeance”, it’s another track full of heavy metal humor that continues the legacy.
Naturally, I couldn’t get my hands on a copy fast enough. Eventually I did, and I made it my personal goal for that weekend to memorize the album from start to finish. I probably didn’t succeed all that much, but I got the basics.
Of course, I could talk about it, or we could just listen to it and make dumb comments to dumb music. Sort of like that Putipie guy they featured on South Park, only without the Swedish accent. Spin that album!
ALBUM ART: A-
1. Revenge of the Vengeance
We open with a faux movie trailer that showcases just how dumb things are going to get. Featuring such gems as “Nobody kills my drummer but ME!”. Probably not the most original sketch in the history of comedy, but whatever, it gets the job done.
2. Obey the Beard
The first single off the album. Perhaps it’s a little personal bias, being a bearded man myself, but it’s not hard to see why they went with this one. Admittedly, the word beard will be run into the ground for you by the time the song reaches the wedding, but it’s still amusing. Particularly the subtle callback to “BEER!”. It’s loud, it’s heavy, it’s about beards, shut up and take my money.
3. President Rhino
I’m pretty sure rhino is what tea party republicans call people they don’t think are republican enough to be republicans. Or maybe that’s rino I’m thinking of. In any case, after the circus that was this year’s opening debate in the republican party, I’d much rather have a rhino for president. Oh yeah, the song is amusing as well. You can see the stampede sequence coming a mile away, but it still cracked me up for some reason.
4. H Flat
5. So Heavy
I combine the two tracks because “H Flat” leads right into “So Heavy”. Wikipedia insists this is a parody of “Deathcore” (whatever the fuck that is), but it honestly strikes me as more of a parody of the djent genre that’s popular right now. Stuff like Meshuggah, Train Arrival, After the Burial, Animals as Leaders, etc. Either way, this song still cracks me up.
6. Dogs Like Songs
If I understand the story correctly, they never really intended on this track going anywhere. It was mostly a track they wrote to see if everything in their new studio worked properly. This track had its fifteen minutes of viral fame on Youtube a year ago, and it even got featured on RightThisMinute: yet another TV show in a long line of TV shows dedicated to putting the internet on television. I loved this song in video form, and having had a dog for most of my life, I can guarantee there’s truth in this song. As a song all by itself, it kind of loses its funny, but the fact it even made it on here is aactually impressive. These thing struck me as a B-side for life.
7. Super Legit Teaser #2 Explode
A trailer in the middle of an album? Okay.
8. Quack Kills
Well I’ll give them an A for effort. Sadly, this is one I didn’t really find all that funny. I know they were trying, but it really doesn’t make me laugh, and it doesn’t really hold my attention.
9. Blue Screen
Clearly the ballad of the album. As a person who very reluctantly uses Windows (if I had the eye sight for it, I’d be using the chromebook right about now), I’m very familiar with this situation. I find it interesting this is the one time they censore the F-word. This song, even if it isn’t the funniest thing ever, has a real brain worm quality to it, and I’ve found myself singing it in the trucks trying to distract my brain from the monotony of unloading.
I’m seriously the last person on Earth who should be complaining about profanity, but really? And I thought The Angry Nintendo Nerd burnt me out on the F-word for a long time. I suppose I should be marveling at the fact they’re able to play classical music on metal instruments, sew it all together so expertly, and even got Bill Manspeaker from Green Jelly to do a guest spot, but frankly, I zone out in boredom by the time it gets to said Bill Manspeaker spot.
Speaking of cover tunes only Psychostick could probably get away with… I’ve learned over the years you can make anything metal if you try hard enough. Even a song Kenny Loggins wrote that got featured in the single gayest movie ever. I don’t care what anybody says, Top Gun was fucking gay. Not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but definitely among the gayest.
12. New to the Neighborhood
Wow, we’re really getting all the milage we can out of Bill Manspeaker, aren’t we? Fortunately for these guys, I’m familiar with Green Jelly as well, so I get references like “snaky”. No matter how much I wish I didn’t.
13. Loathe Thy Neighbor
I’ve honestly never had this sort of problem with neighbors. Then again, up until that old lady next door moved in, I’d always lived in a neighborhood where everyone pretty much kept to themselves. They all ended up being nice guys, but they didn’t really have any motivation to meet the other neighbors. Either way, this song is still pretty amusing.
It’s amusing enough, I guess. In terms of making a list of things that’s totally awesome isn’t really all that original (especially in this day and age), but they have some amusing stuff in there. IE, monster trucks that mow your lawn. Lord knows I’d want one.
15. Choking Hazard
They literally took that hoking hazard sign you see in some restaurants, and made a metal song out of it. Now that, right there, is awesome.
16. Fight to the Death
It almost seems to pick up directly where “Choking Hazard” left off. At least when you consider both songs started because of pizza. In this case, it’s a fight to the death to see who gets the last slice. In typical Psychostick fashion, it only gets stupider from there.
17. Bruce Campbell
The fact it’s about Bruce Motherfucking Campbell is all the reason on earth to award bonus points. The fact it ends up being the most stalkery song in the history of stalker songs (eat your heart out, Sting) doesn’t hurt, either. It’s hands down the single catchiest song on the album.
18. Trick or Treat
Just when you thought the Bill Manspeaker cameo was done…
19. Dimensional Time Portal
20. The Power of Metal Compells You
The skit to end all skits. Join Psychostick as they try to close a dimensional time portal, fight off a horde of haunted panties, and all before the U.S. army nukes the city! How this didn’t end up being an actual movie… Well probably because it’s as stupid as it sounds, but hey, if they can make fucking Bullet to the Head, anything’s possible!
21. Outtakes IV: The Outtakening
It wouldn’t be a Psychostick album if they didn’t share their blooper reel. Though I have to say, this time around was kind of a disappointment. Blooper reels, overall, are what they are. I just kind of hoped for more bloopers, and less auditions and comments from Roarb’s girlfriend sort of moments.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
It’s a pretty beefy track list, but that’s nothing especially new. Frankly, I’m just glad there aren’t any hidden tracks where you have to fast forward through twenty minutes of dead silence or something. All and all, it’s not the best album they’ve ever put out, but it’s far from bad. Definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan.