As we sweat through these dog days of late summer, the time is perfect to bring you Tempe, Arizona’s Psychostick. Formed ten years ago in one of the hottest places on the planet, it is obvious these hooligans are suffering from a fair amount of exposure to the sun (amongst other things). Their brains just seem to be working a little different from the norm, and the end result is something unique, memorable, and downright side-splitting.
Humor has always had a home with music. Weird Al Yankovic has made a living out of it, and bands like Blink-182, Bowling For Soup, NOFX, and The Offspring have had a funny song or two along the way as well. But metal is far more sacred. It’s hard to make metal funny without – well – “making fun” of metal. Spinal Tap was far too unrealistic to be taken too seriously, and Jack Black’s Tenacious D project wasn’t really that funny, but Psychostick is something altogether different…
Every song is funny. Some are outright hilarious. Some are original, while others are parodies of other metal songs, but whatever the formula, they seem to always lead to the same result – laughing your ass off.
The band has just released their third official full-length – Space Vampires vs. Zombie Dinosaurs in 3D – and picks right up where 2009’s Sandwich left off. It’s smart, it’s humorous, and strangely enough, it is pretty legitimate from a musical standpoint. The lyrics are filled with fart and boob jokes, but the rest of the band are intent on playing some pretty hard stuff. There are some great moments along the way that showcase some mosh-inducing prowess, but let’s be honest – it’s all about the lulz.
From the very beginning of the album, the instruction-laden “Welcome To The Show,” (an amusing opener explaining how to properly act at a live concert) shows exactly what’s in store for the next 50 minutes. Tongue-in-cheek songs performed to respectable music fill the majority of this album, but there are a few exceptions.
“Intervention For A Good Mood” and “That Guy” are more “skit” branded comedy (the latter making a welcome reference to the band’s first hit “Beer”), while “It’s Just A Movie, Stupid” takes a break from the brutality with a lighter, ska-influenced vibe. If you think laughing at a song without lyrics is impossible, check out “Six Pounds of Terror” which is filled with a minute and a half of hardcore riffs and breakdowns, backed by a puppy tearing the shit out of a squeak-toy. It’s ridiculously effective, like almost everything else on this disc.
I’m not going to ruin the joke by prematurely giving away the punchline on every track here, but there are a couple of offerings here that must be discussed.
First off, the album’s fourth track “Because Boobs” is the penultimate aria to areola. Driven by a funky bass line, frontman Rarwb pays homage to man’s greatest interest in grand style – including “motorboating” an entire verse (check Google).
“Hate Times 8” brings a three minute tirade of things the band hates, including “buying real estate at a high interest rate.” and “breakdowns” – which they tell us right before – you guessed it – a breakdown. The lyrics are as smart as they are funny, and the music is as pummeling as anything else on the disc.
Also worth mentioning is the over-the-top , cleverly-titled “Methane Crescendo.” Instrumentally, it’s a fine piece of thrash metal by every standard. Lyrically, it laments of a deep, dark time we’ve all been through at some point in our life – when someone farts in the car. It’s as gut-busting as anything the band has ever done, and worth the price of the album just for this track (featured below).
The one true parody on this album is “Numbers (I Can Only Count To Four)” which has guitarist Josh “The J” Key, bassist Matty J “Poolemoose” Rzemyk and drummer Alex “Shmalex” Dontre putting out a perfect rendition of Drowning Pool’s uber-popular “Bodies” with Rawrb screaming out the typical tomfoolery. You almost believe he can’t count to five – but we are pretty sure he can go to at least ten…
The bottom line is that Psychostick don’t take themselves the least bit serious, and neither should you. They are just regular guys (and talented musicians) trying to get a chuckle out of you, and this record is filled with them. It’s as triumphant as it is trivial. It’s as fabulous as it is flatulent. And for my money, it’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long, long time.
01. Premature Intoxication
02. Welcome To The Show
03. Sadface 😦
04. Because Boobs
05. Intervention For A Good Mood
06. Hate Times 8
07. It’s Just A Movie, Stupid
08. Political Burn
09. That Guy
10. Six Pounds Of Terror
11. Methane Crescendo
12. My Clingy Girlfriend
13. The Root Of All Evil
14. Numbers (I Can Only Count To Four)
15. Duh, Of Course We Did Outtakes