The punky party metal offspring of Converge’s Ben Koller and Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky (alongside ace bass pounder Nick Cageo), Mutoid Man was always way more fun than the product of two of post-hardcore’s most well respected institutions had any right to be, their live show a riot of unbridled energy, their first EP “Helium Head” a raucous rampage of sonic showmanship and the follow up LP “Bleeder” adding an unprecedented layer of catchy polish to the proceedings.
But there’s a majesty to new MM LP “War Moans”, an epic weight, prog-ish in scope. The pomp and circumstance of a band that knows exactly which aspects of each storied heavy music subgenre it needs to subvert for its own kick ass purposes. Melding the speed of punk, the crunch of metal and the tongue in cheek swagger of cock rock has always been MM’s raison d’etre, and “WM” continues apace through brooding banger “Headrush”, Brodsky’s dulcet tones transforming into a Nugent-esque shriek on a dime. Then an Iron Maiden-ish quality washes over follow up “Irons in the Fire”, and that’s even before Marty goddamn Friedman starts laying down rubber fingered thrash pageantry over the title track.
Was the power metal fantasy worship about to bore you? You’re an asshole, but that’s cool, because Chelsea Wolfe and Ben Chisholm are here to lend ethereal creep and pulsing techno screech to “Wreck and Survive” and much talked about Ozzy and Lita Ford “Close My Eyes Forever” style closing power ballad “Bandages”. Sound too serious? MM are still having more fun than you or anyone else. The lyrics to “Date With The Devil” are literally laugh out loud funny. “I smell like shit, I’m looking disheveled, I did the walk of shame in hell”.
All-star special guests and aspirations towards deep genre alchemy aside, these are still three of the best musicians in the business and that bedrock of riff godhood, low end rumble and hurricane drumming is what allows “War Moans” to take dexterous flight into so many other galaxies in the first place. The guys seemingly having the best time just playing music together have honed that skill and enthusiasm into creating the best damn record I’ve heard all year. Hats off, gentlemen.