What's In Your Mouth

Strip Mind

Sire / Reprise Records, 1993

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


I'm going through all of my CDs, one-by-one, and updating my list of them. I do this every year, an 'end of the year' inventory, if you will. I piled my CDs on my pool table last year and took a picture of it, but this year, I'm bringing stacks of CDs into the den and going through my stacks. I've gotten through to the S's. Occasionally, I've been putting in CDs that I haven't listened to in a while.

One such CD is by a band called Strip Mind, whose 1993 release What's In Your Mouth didn't make a lot of noise nationally. The University of Iowa radio station, KRUI, had a show on Saturday nights called "The Sonic Nightmare" where DJ "G-Man" played heavy metal from 6 to 9. The G-Man would play a new Strip Mind song every week for a period of two months. Hearing the songs as quick four minutes doses of metal made me fall in love with this band. They remind me a lot of Spread Eagle, who came out shortly before this CD. The music is thrashy, with some elements of rock and roll.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The CD starts out with "Bastard," a tune that immediately showcases the entire band. The powerful drumming of Sully Erna features tight double-bass and deep resounding tom interplay. Vocalist/guitarist Stu Shoaps showcases his melodic approach to his own "tough-from-the-streets" lyrics.

"Texas Radio Horror" was the first song I ever heard by this band and it still ranks as my favorite. Erna introduces the song with a pattern that introduces a thrashy guitar riff. Later he compliments the melody with straight-forward double-bass rumbling and tasteful ride cymbal work. I believe Erna was an underrated drummer who didn't get nearly the exposure his playing on this CD deserves. Lyrically, the killer lyrics in this song are "She's beautiful/ even though she was dead."

Next comes "Young, Fresh, Sweet" a song that brings Independent-era Sacred Reich to mind. This time, though guitarist Billy O'Malley takes certain stage with his riff and interesting interplay with Erna, who compliments the song with more double-bass fills and quick cymbal catches before launching into what can only be described as ultar-thrash metal. From 2:11-2:45, they launch into essential thrash metal that any fan of the genre will smile in delight while listening to. Erna launches into the cleanest double-bass rumbling.

Until you get to the intro to the next track "I Wanna F*ck Your Girlfriend." Say what you will about the lyrics, because I'm not going close to them, but the music in this song is stellar. The song toggles from a ultra-fast blitz to a mid-tempo thrash. This time, though, bassist Tom Catz and Erna lock into a ferocious groove while O'Malley drops out.

Another great song is the second song I ever heard by this band called "Kill Me." O'Malley leads the band through lyrics as "Damned if I do/ Damned if I don't." Nah, never heard that phrase before.

That brings me to the the lyrics, which revolve around the themes of love, sex, and rebellion. In "Don't Care," vocalist Stu Shoaps tells the listener, "Hopeless egomaniac/ Any sort of conscience is what your ass lacks/ Bulldoze all the stupid and poor/ Have the whole world as your whore." He continues berating the wealthy with the lyrics, "Ignorant of all the worldly pain/ Every situation's about personal gain/ Loving every minute of it." Aside from phrases like the above, this CD doesn't offer much lyrically.

Musically, this is a diamond in the mine.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sire / Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.