I really love Mutoid Man, mostly because I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen Brodsky‘s (vocals/guitar) work since his first record with the astoundingly brilliant Cave In. It’s been a real treat for me then to get a new Mutoid Man record just one year after the last Cave In LP hit the streets.
Mutoid Man is a bit different from Cave In. As a power trio, the band presents a more straight forward brand of heavy rock. Like their previous releases, Mutants is really a mix of styles. The band shows how they can be progressive, psychedelic and hardcore – all at the same time. Additionally, I’d even say that the threesome encroaches a bit on doom and sludge (apparent in the track “Memory Hole.”) Likely this is a result of the big change that happened for the band as original bassist Nick Cageao had left the fold. Jeff Matz, bassist from doom/stoner legends High on Fire has entered the project and his influence is ever-so-present throughout the entire record.
“Broken Glass Ceiling” is a track I particularly love as Brodsky uses a great deal of John Christ (ex-Danzig) style pinch harmonics. It lines up perfectly with the powerfully groovy rhythm section that also features Ben Koller (Converge). Koller also dazzles us with his percussive prowess on the blazing “Frozen Hearts.”
The album’s opener “Call of the Void” is the real star here and has the video to match. I particularly love grinning, tuxedo’ed Koller looks like he might have escaped from the animatronic set-up at Chuck E. Cheese. If only they played this type of music at every parent’s most dreaded restaurant, the experience there might be somewhat tolerable.
I really love some of the guitar and bass tones Brodsky and Matz have going on Mutants. For example, listen to the really rich strings in the track “Siren Song,” as well as the heavy groove. The video for the track is pretty quirky, but well, the band is pretty quirky. Also, check out the time change about two minutes in. Love it!
There’s more groove on top of groove in songs like “Graveyard Love,” and the hefty (and sometimes overbearing) “Siphon” which also has some more progressive elements. Same with “Unborn” which will also bring some sonic familiarity to those of us who love Cave In.
What’s missing with this new record is a nice change-of-pace track. Something akin to 2017’s “Bandages” off the War Moans record which shows a much different dimension from the band. There are some times I felt myself getting lost in the sludge and fuzz of Mutants.
Overall, I would say that Mutants is the most progressive and most experimental record in the Mutoid Man catalog. While I wouldn’t say that it tops 2017’s brilliant War Moans, it really demonstrates how versatile this band really is. Mutants is a slightly more psychedelic version of Mutoid Man and in this bizarre world we live in today, another break from our daily reality is quite welcome.