Artist: Mutoid Man
Title: War Moans
Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Length: 38 min.
Label: Sargent House
Producer: Kurt Ballou
Personnel: Stephen Brodsky (vocals, guitars), Nick Cageao (vocals, bass), Ben Koller (drums), Ben Chisholm (synthesizer), and Kurt Ballou (guitar on “Kiss of Death” and “Bandages”)
Special Guests: Marty Friedman (lead guitar on “War Moans”), Chelsea Wolfe (vocals on “Wreck and Survive” and “Bandages”), Adam McGrath (guitar on “Irons in the Fire”)
2017 has been a year of surprises for me, and one of the biggest has been Mutoid Man and their sophomore LP, War Moans. In fact, when all is said and done, War Moans just might appear on my top 10 best albums of the year list. I’d like to do a quick album review of it here.
War Moans contains a kind of heavy metal/hard rock blend that’s super listenable but also really tough and gritty. It’s forward driving metal mixed with catchy rock. I’m especially enjoying the lyrics’ wry but not overbearing humor, the aggressive delivery overall, the wonderfully fuzzed out guitars, my favorite Megadeth guitarist – Marty Friedman – bursting into a special guest solo on the album’s title track, and the way Ben Koller’s drums make a ton of awesome noise, even if he is using a smaller drum kit. These guys wring a lot out of a little, both in their instruments and in their personnel.
On this record, Mutoid Man took everything great about their first EP, Helium Head, and their first album, Bleeder, and improved it, along with better production values. Some people may complain that they have not evolved their sound enough, but it is obvious that Mutoid Man know exactly want they want, and that is what they have produced. Besides, this is the first time Mutoid Man truly put everything they can do on its best display.
“Who even is Mutoid Man?” you might ask, since Mutoid Man is certainly not in the mainstream of the metal, rock, or punk worlds. It’s made up of three members: Stephen Brodsky of the alt metal Cave In, Ben Koller of the hardcore punk Converge, and Nick Cageao of Brooklyn’s infamous St. Vitus bar. Some have called the guys a metalcore act, though that name has probably been applied to Mutoid Man because people don’t know what else to call them. In actuality, they are a concoction of multiple genres (and, as I mentioned in my article about Mastodon and Cold Dark Place, I love that sort of thing.) Their delightful brew includes traditional heavy metal, various sorts of hard rock, progressive rock and metal, psychedelic rock, hardcore punk, sludge metal, and stoner rock. “Hard rock, prog, and extreme music don’t fit together!” you might exclaim. Well, Mutoid Man would have a problem with that, because that’s exactly what they do. And War Moans is a fantastic example of the band’s work, their best yet.
I’m going to give Mutoid Man’s War Moans a 90%. It’s seriously that good.