Mephiskapheles ‎– Might-Ay White-Ay

3 out of 5

Label: Koch

Produced by: Stoker

While Mephiskapheles did end up returning a long while after Might-Ay White-Ay, their third release, it was, for better or worse, in reunion mode, with a trackname like ‘Satan Stole My Weed’ suggestive of the slackening of the oddball semi-serious / semi-batshit 666-worshipping attitude they’d previously purveyed.  Not that anyone was taking it all that seriously, but there was this enigmatically weird vibe surrounding the group that made them emanate especially as a part of your CD collection or on a list of bands playing that night.

Still, I’m happy they’re back.  And along those lines, while M-Ay W-Ay is undeniably the weakest of their three classic releases, I love owning it, and I would have taken bi-annual repeats of this rather watered down style if it meant more Meph to listen to.

Essentially, if you take the genius Maximum Perversion as the keystone; the pinnacle achievement – an as-yet unmatched mix of punk aggression, jazz compositional licks, and ska off-beats (and willfully twisted tunings and lyrics) – God Bless Satan is an older brother, a bit more traditional in its tastes and more straightforward in its approach, and Might-Ay is the younger brother, ditching a lot of nuance for noise and swearing, and erring toward rock when it can’t quite figure out what to do with this ska thing.  That description also requires mixed metaphors, but let’s go with it.

Part of the shift in sound might be due to a drastic changeup in the horn section’s players, but perhaps tellingly, we have a new guitar player, and so one can raise an eyebrow toward the very guitar driven sound of the disc.  Kicking off with the raucous Calloused Boy, a fantastically gritty opener, it’s easy to get hyped for another genre fusion a la Perversion, but followup track El Dorado covers similar territory, hinting that that’s not going to be the case.  Might-Ay does end up offering a fair amount of singles, both of the punky and two-tone variety, they’re just rather in the straight-forward style of God Bless, harkened back to even moreso with Sonic Demonic’s Jesus singalong reminiscent of Bumblebee Tuna-type humor.

Is this a bad thing?  No; overall, definitely not.  Despite the lineup changes, this is still a talented and energized crew, and the passion earns the disc multiple spins.  But, fine, it’s possible to admit that the joke might’ve worn stale for the group at this point, hence their disbanding after, and hence the album coming across as less original and inspired than previous ones.