After “War Moans” fell into my lap, I regretted my choice for a vegetarian lifestyle because upon pressing play all I was bombarded with was thick-cut, juicy slabs of heavy metal meat.
One could spend all day coming up with imaginative descriptions to create a mental image of Mutoid Man‘s third album. I am stuck somewhere between an impossibly large steak in a roadhouse eating challenge (with slatherings of smokey barbeque sauce) and a significant amount of masonry, crushing a rusty touring van with skulls painted on it.
Featuring the tricky-yet-hookey guitar work and vocal attack of Stephen Brodsky and the infallible powerhouse drumming of Ben Koller, together they form a formidable bedrock with their notable combined experience and pedigree. Rounded off by the notable and absolutely thunderous bass of Nick Cageao, the sheer sonic violence perpetrated by the trio is at times remarkable – even more s0 with the help of Kurt Ballou‘s production and mixing.
“War Moans” answers an unasked, but vital question: What would it sound like it you slammed together bands like QOTSA, Melvins and Mastodon, and peppered the mix with classic heavy rock influences? What you get is a beefy, full album where there is always something going on. It holds no punches and throws subtleties out the window. It wanders aimfully between fast-paced frantic bursts of aggro speed, dabbling in thrash and punk undertones with songs like Micro Aggression, Headrush and Afterlife, with nods to classic acts like Motörhead and Iron Maiden with amphetamine-laced opener, Melt Your Mind and the anthemic Irons In The Fire.
The flipside to these frenzied outbursts is the inhuman weight of mid-paced avalanches of sound from the crushing Bone Chain, Date With The Devil and the deliciously sleazy single, Kiss Of Death; heavy enough to smear metal hipsters into a pretentious paste.The line between balls out hevay rock and technical proficiency is microns thick here, huge riffs are pumped up around delicious flourishes and fills and some of the tastiest gourmet drumming you’ll find. The bass itself so fat it rolls through the album like a boulder, at times being it’s own wall of sound.
The line between balls-out heavy rock and technical proficiency is microns thick here: huge riffs are pumped up around delicious flourishes and fills and some of the tastiest gourmet drumming you’ll find. The bass itself is so fat that it rolls through the album like a boulder, at times being its own wall of sound.
Througout the album, it feels as if the tenuous grip on the grimy, street level rock/metal foundation might accidentally give way into a progessive territory, playing on the listener right to the end of the album where it finally lets go with the distorted drug haze journey of Open Flame, and finally the relatively calm breathing room of Bandages.
Overall, “War Moans” is a thoroughly impressive and ballsy album. One would expect to hear it being played on a badly lit stage in a seedy, basement dive bar in the bad part of downtown, all the while an unspeakable horror destroys the city above, much to the indifference of the patrons and the band itself.