From the depths of the Eastern Iowa punk scene comes Piss Exorcist’s self-titled album, released this past February. The Piss Exorcist identifications on Bandcamp range from hardcore punk to thrash music, but their Facebook claims they produce “punk bullshit,” which couldn’t be a more fitting classification in the most favorable sense.
Piss Exorcist’s new album fits the punk genre, and it does it well, but with a spice of scatological vulgarity. At a moment in which the DIY scene of Eastern Iowa has developed a complacency within their mainstream punk niche, Piss Exorcist seems to parody the genre and what it means to the region.
“Flea Bomb” opens the collection with a screech of feedback and a driving guitar riff. The song immediately accelerates and then, a scream from the vocalist, Juliette Enloe, of the word “fleas.” Throughout the album, Piss Exorcist includes words that are designed to repulse. Even the song names are examples of this — with phrases like “flea bomb,” “mouth rot” and “heat rash” — playing off the gross, not just the offensive, which is refreshingly uncomfortable.
The energetic instrumentation, through the guitar riffs, drum beats and screamed lyrics, is addictive. The increase in tempos and occasional breakdowns following create a stimulating need to thrash the body in time with the music. The hard-edged musicality of this album produced a fervent energy through the musicians’ own intensity.
The album is “bullshit,” in that these basic elements don’t exercise experimentation within the genre; instead, the genre merges with the radical lyricism of vocals that arrest you with their crudeness, in an amalgamation of the obscene and proper punk. Iowa City’s DIY scene has an abundance of punk bands that play similar music to Piss Exorcist’s album — the qualities that define proper punk. But by adding a layer of shock, Piss Exorcist challenges local musicians’ satisfaction with the punk mainstream.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 243.