200 Stab Wounds Dial Up the Fun and Intensity on ‘Manual Manic Procedures’

200 Stab Wounds Dial Up the Fun and Intensity on ‘Manual Manic Procedures’

- By Creative Team

The emerging Ohio death metal sensations return with their second LP as they continue to conquer the extreme world one riff at a time.

Words by Jon Garcia

Though what is undead can never truly die, death metal in the 2020s has pulled itself out of decayed soil like the putrid corpses it howls so much about. Genres pioneers like Cannibal Corpse, Immolation and Carcass are hacking and slashing as strong as ever, and there’s no shortage of ravenous young bands eager to carve their own path.

And few of them have made their impression felt more than 200 Stab wounds.

The last four years have sometimes felt like a fever dream to the Cleveland quartet. They’d never even played a show before Maggot Stomp released their 2020 EP Piles of Festering Decomposition and debut full-length Slave to the Scalpel in 2021. When the pandemic eased the band then spent nearly a full year straight on tour, getting opportunities to support the likes of Obituary and Soulfy. Max Cavalera still tells anyone and everyone to listen to the band.

“A big part of why our band even is where it is today is because a lot of those legendary bands take us out on the road,” vocalist and guitarist Steve Buhl said. “A lot of people that like our band wouldn't even know about us otherwise. We're just grateful for it.”


200 Stab Wounds channel the bludgeoning sound of old school death metal with a buzzsaw of hardcore, offering brutal turns-of-pace and plenty of pit-rippers across their short and to-the-point releases. They’ve endeared themselves to crusty and freshly-spawned fans alike while grabbing the attention of Metal Blade Records, who’ll be releasing their sophomore LP Manual Manic Procedures on June 28. It’s a step forward in both sound and songwriting for the band, and will ensure they’re no flash in the pan.

“There are times where we think about it and we're like, ‘Why are we here though?’ You know what I mean?” Buhl said, smoking a cigarette and looking out into the blue Ohio afternoon. “We know there's better bands out there; more technical bands or whatever. So obviously we know that we're here for a reason.”

The reasons are simple: they’re always on tour, they have the support from death metal legends and fans of heavy music, and – most importantly – they write brutally catchy, mosh-inducing songs about blood and violence. They never forget that death metal is supposed to be fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously; it’s why they get inspired for song titles after taking their shoes off in the van to “Release the Stench”.

“Maybe when we've become a little bit more mature in our minds and know a little bit more shit about the world” they’ll start writing more sophisticated lyrics, Buhl said with a smirk. “But we don't know what the fuck we're talking about, so we’re just going to write shit about killing people.”

Fresh off their tour with Dying Fetus, KNOTFEST’s Jon Garcia caught up with Buhl to chat about their upcoming album, how relentless touring has helped them become better songwriters, and how sharing the stage with death metal legends has now become surprisingly normal for them.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

When did you all start working on the new record?

STEVE BUHL: We started the process like two or three years ago, but it got sidetracked. It didn't take that long to write the record, it just took forever to get it done because of our touring schedule. In 2022 we literally toured 10 or 11 months straight. So yeah, it started pretty much right after we did our first record.

When we officially got on Metal Blade and did the seven-inch, we had some time at home before we did [The 2023 Decibel Magazine Tour with] Dark Funeral and Cattle Decapitation in the States. That was the longest time we had off, we had six months off. So that's pretty much where we really sat down and got the record together and finished it.

It's definitely old news to us, for sure. But it's really not though, because we haven't really got a chance to tour on it yet. I mean, we've been touring Slave to the Scalpel into the fucking ground. We're obviously tired of that shit, but also it never gets old live. So of course, we expect the same process with this. We're just stoked to get it out there to the people and then go and tour on it, have people know it and have a fresh thing to get out to the people and play.

The beginning of this decade feels like a lifetime ago. It’s been wild to see the band burst on to the scene and establish themselves almost immediately. Does it still feel like a whirlwind for you?

SB: At first, yeah. I mean, we were tripping about it. Going on tour with Soulfly? I think the next tour we did after that was Obituary, which is fucking crazy for me.

But at this point, honestly, it just feels normal. The tour we just did with Dying Fetus, that whole thing felt normal. It's not like how it used to be where it's like, ‘Holy fuck, we're going on tour Dying Fetus!’ Now it's like, ‘Oh, cool. It's another tour,’ you know?

But we're still super appreciative of it. That's a big part of why our band even is where it is today, because a lot of those legendary bands take us out on the road. A lot of people that like our band wouldn't even know about us otherwise. We're just grateful for it.

There are times where we think about it and we're like, ‘Why are we here though?’ You know what I mean? We're not conceited, we're not super full of ourselves. We know there's better bands out there; more technical bands or whatever. We know that they're out there. So obviously we know that we're here for a reason.



Was there any kind of goal in mind with Manual Manic Procedures as far as where you wanted to take the album?

SB: No, not really.  I mean, [it was] definitely intentional to try to branch out a little bit and try to just be as creative as we can. But no, there wasn't a set goal like, ‘Okay, we're gonna do the music this way.’ It wasn't like that.

We just kind of write our stuff and then whatever happens, happens. We just kind of take it day by day. It's just whatever we're feeling at that moment. So no plan, no intentional thing, really. It's just us trying to be creative and branch out a little bit, but still have that same core sound that we have.

How do you all work out your songs? Do you hash it out in the practice room, send riffs back and forth?

SB: I'll demo stuff out of my house, and usually just bring it to the guys or send it to the guys or whatever. We got together a lot more with Slave to the Scalpel than we did with this one. Like, as a band in a room with our instruments together coming up with ideas and shit. But that's 50/50 for us, because sometimes we work really, really well together and then there's other times where it's a fucking shit show.

So with this one, I would bring my ideas to the guys and then Ezra [Cook, bass] would come up to my house and have ideas for this bar. Or maybe we rearrange this or maybe we add this in or maybe we take that out. That's kind of pretty much how the whole record happened. Then eventually we got into a room together to rehearse and record it.

There was even stuff that was changed in the studio. That whole song “Led to the Chamber/Liquified” was all written in the studio the night we recorded it.

The way we write, all the songs come out short. We've only done two records so far, but it's kind of on our track record that we haven't done a record over 30 minutes yet. It's not an intentional thing, it's just how our songs come out. By the time we finished doing all the tracks for this record, it was still only 25 minutes. We're like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to at least hit that 30 mark.’ So we came up with that instrumental track the night before. It's just how our band works.

You’ve mentioned before you like to have fun with the lyrics and they don’t particularly mean anything or carry any sort of message. Did that continue on this album?

SB: There's definitely more thought into these lyrics. There's still not like a story or anything, There's no message. It's still the same idea where it's just fun stuff, fun stories. There's a little bit more thought behind this time, a little bit more meaning, I suppose. But no message, though.

Dude, the way we come to our song titles is not serious at all. We were on tour and fucking Owen [Pooley, drummer] and took his shoe off and he's like, ‘I gotta release the stench!’ I'm like, That's fucking tough. That’s tough, write that down. The same thing happened with “Fatal Reality”. We almost crashed the van on tour and – fucking Owen again – he was like, ‘Oh, that was almost a fatal reality.’ That's fucking tough. Write that down. That’s how we come to a lot of our shit.

We don’t really think about shit too seriously. I'm sure that eventually in time, we'll get into like, deeper meaning or like real life shit. Right now, on this record in particular, we're just trying to have fun with it and just write the shit that we like. Just have fun with it and not take ourselves too seriously. Maybe eventually, when we become a veteran band and we've become a little bit more mature in our minds and know a little bit more shit about the world. But we don't know what the fuck we're talking about, so we’re just going to write shit about killing people.




Did the amount of touring and playing live for so many different audiences influence how you approached writing new riffs and what you wanted to do with the songs?

SB: Big time. If you listen to Slave to a Scalpel and the demo before that, we hadn’t even played a show before we recorded those. Obviously, between then and now, we played a lot of shows, we've done a lot of touring. We got a good idea of what the people like, what we like, and what's fun live. There's songs that we've made that I fucking hated, but we played live and it was actually really fun. We have a better idea of what we enjoy from touring and what we enjoy writing from touring, so that definitely influenced the way we wrote this record for sure.

What do you want people to take away from Manual Manic Procedures?

SB: Just that it's an awesome record if you like death metal. If you like anything heavy I would think that you enjoy this. Nothing really to take away. I mean, if I listen to an awesome record I walk away I'm like, ‘That band fucking rules. Cool, you got a fan out of me.’ That's kind of what I want people to do.


Manual Manic Procedures is available on June 28 via Metal Blade Records

200 Stab Wounds is set for a European trek supporting Gatecreeper later this year and has now unveiled more dates with a North American headlining stretch that will keep the band on the road for the months of August and September. 

The Manual Manic Procedures Tour begins August 16th in Houston, TX and extends through September 10th in Ottawa, Ontario. The run will include supporting sets from Balmora, Upon Stone and Stabbing.

200 Stab Wounds will then join powerviolence heroes Nails for a stretch of dates punctuated with an appearance at this year’s New England Metal And Hardcore Fest in Worcester, Massachusetts. 2SW will then take on a handful of dates with Alluvial, Torture and Killing Pace.

See the current list of dates and cities below. Get tickets - HERE

200 STAB WOUNDS w/ Balmora, Upon Stone, Stabbing

8/16/2024 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX

8/17/2024 Trees – Dallas ,TX

8/18/2024 Parish – Austin, TX

8/20/2024 The Nile – Phoenix, AZ

8/22/2024 1720 - Los Angeles, CA

8/23/2024 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA

8/24/2024 The Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA

8/26/2024 Dante's – Portland, OR

8/27/2024 Neumos – Seattle, WA

8/28/2024 The Pearl – Vancouver, BC

8/30/2024 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB

8/31/2024 Commonwealth Room – Calgary, AB

9/02/2024 The Exchange – Regina, SK

9/03/2024 Park Theater – Winnipeg, MB

9/05/2024 Turf Club – Minneapolis, MN

9/06/2024 X Ray Arcade – Milwaukee, WI

9/07/2024 Full Terror Assault – Cave In Rock, IL

9/10/2024 Rainbow Bistro – Ottawa, ON

w/ Nails

9/11/2024 Club Soda – Montreal, QC

9/12/2024 Axis Nightclub – Toronto, ON

9/13/2024 Tangent – Detroit, MI

9/14/2024 Avondale Music Hall – Chicago, IL

9/15/2024 Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO

9/16/2024 Exit/In – Nashville, TN

9/17/2024 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA

9/18/2024 Hangar 1819 – Greensboro, NC

9/19/2024 Baltimore Sound Stage – Baltimore, MD

9/20/2024 Brooklyn Monarch – Brooklyn, NY

9/21/2024 New England Metal And Hardcore Fest – Worcester, MA

w/ Alluvial, Torture, Killing Pace

9/24/2024 Canal Club – Richmond, VA

9/25/2024 New Brookland – Columbia, SC

9/26/2024 Eulogy – Asheville, NC

9/28/2024 The Roxy – Lakewood, OH

Back to blog
1 of 3