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Kitchen Knife Conspiracy 

Worst Case in Stereo (www.kitchenknifeconspiracy.com)

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Produced by Today Is the Day singer-guitarist Steve Austin, Kitchen Knife Conspiracy's Worst Case in Stereo would make a hell of an EP. But since the band's third CD is a full-length, skip directly to "Porn II Kill," turn up the bass, and join the guilty parties, as the Conspiracy's tender homage to the thrash demons of Morbid Angel evolves into nasty blasts of doom metal and death growls.

Singer John Prosenjak gets guttural about snuff films, sacrificed virgins, the Antichrist, and an absent God. At face value, the songs read like standard-issue heavy-metal bombast of the blood, guts, and gore variety. But the CD's lyric booklet ends with words from the eminently quotable Jean Rostand, slyly linking the Youngstown quartet's self-described "stompcore" with the long and ignoble tradition of French transgressive literature. With bass drums set to double-pummel, "The World Is Empty" stands, furious, in the shadow of the stoner-grind kings of Obituary. The disc concludes with "Entry Wound for the Self-Abuser," where guitarist Jeremy Cibella plays as if he's squeezing bursts from a muffled Uzi. You can't bang your head hard enough to this.

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