5 out of 5
Label: Sargent House
Produced by: Kurt Ballou
Stephen Brodsky has rocked all ’round the stylistic clock, coming to our mathy-metal attentions with the embellishments he made to all-stars Cave In’s lyrics – adding some prose and poetry – and encouraging the embracing of space-rock alongside their shredding, which laid the path from Jupiter to a major label deal. Along the way and inbetween and afterward, he would indulge in Beatles melodies on stripped down solo works, psychedelia mish-mash with his Octave Museum, and then some bare bones rawk with Pet Genius. Lovey-dovey navel-gazing themes seemed to pepper his writing, becoming moreso the case as he moved away from metal; when he circled back around for distortion on Pet Genius, that sensibility turned into a pop-song sing-song. Silly, but it worked.
Mutoid Man, undoubtedly the punkiest thing Brodsky had done to date, was also – may Cave In fans bash me – the loudest and most delightfully heavy stuff he’d done. Teaming up with Converge and All Pigs Must Die mates for a three man powerhouse of blitzy solos, thrash drums, and an always-on snarl from Brodsky, the artist spun his indulgences into a metal indulgence: a cheeky smirk that pairs a song title like Kiss of Death with a followup named Date With the Devil; in which ululating groans interrupt lyrics because gawd dawmn it’s all you can do to not start head-banging from the get-go.
The previous Mutoid Man releases, themselves damn excellent, are a half step behind War Moans’ all-out attack. Previously we found the group doing a bit more of a classic metal thing and then purposefully layering modern hardcore on top of it; it was done damned well but you sensed the influences and homages slightly ‘neath the surface, suggesting the group would be, y’know, a side project. And maybe War Moans will be the last we hear of them, but it’s a fine way to go out: when MM establishes a definitive sound; a future for metal that a million other hard rocking bands haven’t been able to touch on. It’s nothing mind blowing, per se – it’s the things I’ve mentioned: it’s punk; it’s hard rock – but it’s what the above sounds like when its pared down to all the truly inspired bits, played at 11, played blazing fast, recorded with raw Kurt Ballou fare, and then sent out into the world to not give a fuck about what’s destroyed in its wake. Glorious.