Metalcore was exciting in 1995, and Deadguy’s lone full-length, Fixation on a Coworker, was peak metalcore excitement. The album is 30 minutes of sheer, jagged, labyrinthine mayhem; if Keith Huckins’ guitar work doesn’t get your blood boiling, Tim Singer’s absolutely raging vocals will.
And I mean raging: Singer channels an uncomfortable amount of anger in these songs, which today we’re breaking down and revisiting so we can dissect them and rank them in order from least-rulin’ to most-rulin’.
Our July 2006 issue, featuring our Hall of Fame induction for the album is sold out; but the HOF is available as part of The Decibel Hall of Fame Anthology: Volume III, which you can pre-order here. In the meantime, play Fixation loud as you angrily disagree with our rankings. Let’s get angry. Long live the kings of anger, Deadguy.
10. Crazy Eddie
The last song on the album is the only one where the band really takes a few minutes to let some air in, to give the listener a chance to reconsider what has happened over the past nine tunes. And horrible things have happened, and horrible things continue to happen during “Crazy Eddie,” which stops and then starts again as if it’s a new song, but at this point in the album nothing is linear, nothing makes sense, nothing is comfortable, certainly not this bad-dream bloodletting of a track. Which means, yup, it rules.
Another short two-minute blaster on an album full of ’em; I love the noise-rock rhythm section breakdown and the huge rise and climax that follows, Singer outdoing himself here. Every song on this record is top-three worthy, and that’s pretty freaky.
8. Nine Stitches
A mixture of simple hardcore pummel and mathcore prog, “Nine Stitches” is a nice breather, relatively speaking, at track seven of 10 here. The “Keep it up!” breakdown part is unbearably good, almost too intense, too real to have possibly been released by Victory Records circa 1995.
7. The Extremist
The second half of the album kicks off with “The Extremist,” and maybe it’s just a bit of fatigue setting in after having Singer yell in our goddamn face for the first five songs, but this one always kinda flew past me for the first half, although by the time the halfway point lays down the huge hardcore groove, eh, we’re sucked in every time.
6. Makeshift Atomsmasher
One of the things we don’t talk about too much when it comes to this album is just how catchy and memorable some of these songs are. Take “Makeshift Atomsmasher,” for example. A technical mathcore trudge placed halfway through an album released in 1995 shouldn’t be something that just pops into your head at random in 2020, but there you have it.
5. Riot Stairs
I mean, it’s not like Singer is going to start crooning, but his pure-fury scream does feel a bit out of place over “Riot Stairs”’ quiet first half. That’s about the worst I can say about this song, which proceeds to turn into the ultimate “Hey, imagine if Discord Records had a really heavy band” jam and completely lay us all to fucking waste.
4. Baby Arm
In which our beloved mathcore heroes get their Voivod on, “Baby Arm” being a sort of sci-fi journey through Singer’s twisted psyche as well as the twisted riffs of a bunch of guys who, man, were just dead-set on destruction at this point. This song is next-level bonkers, and it also lays down some alarmingly catchy riffs, like every song on this album does. The song’s climax is undeniable; the last half of “Baby Arm” is absolute catharsis. With Voivod riffs!
3. Die With Your Mask On
The first half of Fixation on a Coworker is just banger after banger, this song coming in at number three with a massive bullet, “Die With Your Mask On” slowing down the pace a bit to a hardcore sludge crawl with much power. When things stumble into the speedier part at around 1:18, the intensity only picks up. That almost seems impossible, but this band was dealing in impossibilities at this point.
2. Doom Patrol
A killer opener if I’ve ever heard one, this one made it clear pretty quick what was happening here with the broken-glass riffing, twisted grooves and absolutely unhinged vocals. As catchy as psychosis can be, “Doom Patrol” is a metalcore classic, full stop.
1. Pins and Needles
The ultimate “take this job and screw it” anthem, Deadguy here play with moods (well, angry and really angry, anyway) and some songwriting flair to create a legendary climax pretty early on in this incredible song, the band honestly fashioning one of the most intense songs ever laid done with this one. “You can’t kill yourself/you’re already dead” indeed. This song is just massive, and it somehow manages to feel like a lifetime—in all the best ways—in just over two minutes. Earth-shaking, perception-shattering and emotionally exhausting, “Pins and Needles” is perfection.