Five Point Containment
posted on 5/2008 By:
After 20 years, 68 band members, 17 albums, and appearances on Judge Judy, Larry King Live, Jerry Springer, Howard Stern, Talk Soup, MTV, Ripley's Believe it Or Not, and CNN, you’d think Skitzo would have earned some prominence in the metal scene. Instead, Five Point Containment (originally entitled Heavy Shit) sat on the shelf for almost two years until the band signed with Open Grave Records, who pushed back the release on at least one occasion, then made only a half-hearted effort to promote the album once it finally was released. Have you seen a review of this anywhere else? I haven’t. If you are part of the band’s cult following, though, you likely already own this, and no further commentary is required. But, to all of you neophytes, welcome to the world of Skitzo, where the bizarre is the norm, no cow is sacred, and metalheads make metal for metalheads.
Let me just get the negative out of the way first and say that the production is sort of all over the place. The guitar tone is a bit grating at times, the bass tends to stick out more than it should, and overall levels seem out of whack. You get used to it after a few tracks, but you really have to want to listen to it. Thankfully, Skitzo makes it worth your while with some strong material. It’s a bit more macabre than I expected from a band who’s last release was entitled Hellevator Music, and one of who’s most memorable songs is the campy “Cannibal Girl Island,” but the often over-the-top subject matter goes right along with the overall, uneasy sound of the album.
Right in that vein, “Gag Like a Maggot” and “Stab Her Goodnight” are hard-hitting thrash numbers that play like scripts for B-level horror films. While we’re on the subject of gore, let’s talk about “Head of Laci.” By now, this is hardly topical; in fact, it could be considered downright passé, but that’s what happens when an album sits on the shelf. Never ones to shy away from controversy, they almost seem to be defending Scott Peterson as they ask the question, “Where is the head of Laci?” Or maybe I’m looking way too much into it, and the song simply chronicles the months-long saga in just over 3 minutes and the question being asked with morbid curiosity. I can almost imagine Nate Clark stalking the stage with it mounted on the headstock of his bass.
Changing gears slightly, “Metallic Tyrants” is an apocalyptic epic, short on words but long on riffs, delivered in part by guest guitarist John Marshall (ex-Metal Church/Blind Illusion). The track also features lead vocals by Possessed frontman Jeff Becerra, a metallic tyrant in his own right.Also, the zombie nightmare of “We Are the Dead” features lead guitar by ex-Vio-lence/current Machine Head axeman Phil Demmel. We even get a couple of covers. One is a not uncommon choice – Motorhead’s “Iron Fist” – but the other is “Vengeance is Mine” by Blind Illusion, delivered with such ferocity that it nearly eclipses the original.
If nothing else, Five Point Containment is a testament to the tenacity of Skitzo and Ozanix specifically, who has been doing this for much longer than anyone would expect given the low rate of return. This is an uncompromising album – both musically and lyrically - made by three guys who don’t really care whether you like them or not. After all, they aren’t here to make friends; they’re here to thrash, slam, vomit on, and possibly even main all those they come in contact with.
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