If you were to guess what a side-project from members of Converge and Cave In was to sound like you might hit on something close to Wear Your Wounds the album released by Jacob Bannon earlier this year. It’s a dark and unsettling piece of music and while you’d struggle to call it heavy in the way you do Converge, it most definitely is. What you wouldn’t expect, is Mutoid Man.
Made up of Stephen Brodsky (Converge, Cave In), Benjamin Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die) and Nicholas Cageao (who doesn’t have the same sort of credits but is friends with those fuckers so must be cool) War Moans is Mutoid Man’s third album. It is what happens if you take a shitload of Motörhead, a dollop of technical hardcore and then line it with sludge just for the hell of it. Basically, it’s rock and roll baby.
‘Melt Your Mind’ sets that up from the start, full of swaggering flourishes and clean vocals it gallops. It’s Motörhead 101, and yet there is something else there. Underneath that rock gusto, the technicality still shines and on ‘Micro Aggression’ it is very evident. This is what happens when you get three brilliant musicians and ask them to rock out.
Which doesn’t mean that they don’t dive into the occasional spandex clad cliché. Some of the lyrics here are cringe at best and ‘Kiss of Death’ and ‘Date With The Devil’ are particularly bad offenders. However, it’s all delivered in a style that makes you believe it is at least slightly tongue in cheek as Stephen Brodsky declares ‘blow me a kiss, blow me a kiss of death’. It feels like three mates who have put together a rock band in their garage and there is a lot of fun to be had with that.
It’s also not lacking in other departments. The aforementioned ‘Kiss of Death’ allows that sludge element to rise to the top while ‘War Moans’ turns it from technical Motörhead into technical Manowar as it brings the trad metal. There’s even a fuzzy ballad to close things out with ‘Bandages’. A couple of the twelve tracks could have been cut as a few of them feel redundant but as it’s only 30 odd minutes long, that is a small complaint.
Mutoid Man are fun and sometimes fun is what you need. If you’re coming in expecting Converge or even something along the lines of Wear Your Wounds then you are going to be left sorely disappointed. If you’re looking for some rock and roll played by some of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet, then step on through.