Mutoid Man
War Moans

I can confidently say that Mutoid Man is not like any band on the current metal scene. The project is the brainchild of Steven Brodsky (Cave-In) and Ben Koller (Converge) and having previously dished up a quality EP and 2015’s livewire LP Bleeder, they’ve arrived at this second full-length platter, entitled War Moans. And the results are pretty damn crazy, featuring tons of genre-bending and zany, riff-driven fun. Refusing to adhere to any strict genre boundaries, Mutoid Man crank the energy to caffeinated levels of euphoria, incorporating a diverse and hard to pinpoint amalgam of heavy rock, punk, thrash, prog, trad metal and grungy 90’s style alt rock, fully loaded with Brodsky’s exceptionally catchy riffs and pop-infected vocal hooks.

As much as I enjoyed Bleeder, War Moans finds Mutoid Man taking their unique formula to the next level. The songcraft has been tightened and the hooks sharpened, resulting in an incredibly concise, punchy and scarily addictive affair. Brodsky’s melodic singing voice still contains plenty of grit and versatile change-ups, while the poppy nature of the album’s infectious hooks is offset by the stripped back production and aggressive instrumentation. Opener “Melt Your Mind” makes an immediate impact and proves hard to shake, despite its brevity. The song is all trad metal bravado with a crunchy, streetwise modern edge, kicking War Moans into high gear from the outset.

Much of the material maintains a cracking pace, however, that’s not to suggest War Moans is one-dimensional in any way. The songs are individually distinctive and memorable, while the song-writing features slick dynamic twists and surprising variables. “Kiss of Death” takes it back a notch with grinding mid-paced riffage and hints of stoned-out heavy rock. Similarly, “Date with the Devil” mixes up tempos effectively, as thick doomy dirges combine with breakneck thrashy moments and some humorous storytelling. Although certain songs hit harder than others, there’s nothing resembling a dud or disposable throwaway, as War Moans blasts by in a perfectly efficient manner, minus any dull moments.

Aggressive old school thrash features prominently on the blistering title track, with none other than former Megadeth axeman Marty Friedman supplying some first rate shredding. The spastic shape-shifting of “Wreck and Survive” hits all the right spots and benefits from a stirring vocal from the wonderful Chelsea Wolfe. “Headrush” and “Afterlife” are adrenaline pumping rockers, powered by punk and thrash cylinders. Mutoid Man leave the biggest surprise and most touching moment for final track “Bandages,” a brooding, emotive slower number propelled by Brodsky’s expressive and brilliant guitar work and backed by a powerful vocal performance, ending the album on a rousing high note.

Brodsky’s guitar work lends the album much of its versatility, as he pillages elements from a wide palette of genres and influences, while keeping the speed, aggression and technicality appropriately jacked or restrained as necessary. Meanwhile Koller and bassist Nick Cageao lock down a tight, groovy and often frantically paced rhythm section, adding ample weight to the band’s sound. The production also serves the album well, sounding clear, balanced and suitably crunchy, while maintaining a pleasingly unvarnished aesthetic. War Moans is a terrific album, burying itself deeply inside my brain and featuring some of the most flat-out addictive, outrageous and insanely fun metal I’ve had the pleasure of absorbing in 2017.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
July 18th, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: Grindymcgrinder

    Indie rock.nothing but typical indie rock here.


  2. Commented by: Luke_22

    Nah, there’s much more to it than that.


  3. Commented by: Jay

    Nice one Luke. I forgot about these guys. My buddy Pedro from the Florida band EuroAsia turned me onto this stuff. Dug it as I’m a pretty big Cave-In fan, but forgot it existed until seeing this review.


  4. Commented by: Jay

    Of course the band name comes from that pain in the ass Smash TV boss. That son of a bitchin’ bastard.


  5. Commented by: Luke_22

    Thanks Jay. Yeah never really heard much Cave-In. I might have to check them out, because I’m loving this stuff.


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