War Moans – Vinyl // CD // DD
Sargent House – Release Date: June 2, 2017
Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall
Supergroups usually suck…Mutoid Man does not. Formed in New York, and comprised of Nick Cageao on bass, Stephen Brodsky on guitar/vocals, and Ben Koller on skins. The latter two members are from a couple of seminal bands of the last twenty years…Cave In and Converge respectively. On the heels of one EP, “Helium Head” and their critically lauded debut LP “Bleeder” released last year, momentum has been rapidly growing. After touring for “Bleeder,” the band returned home to find out they had lost their practice space due to evil gentrification, ultimately landing in the basement of one of, if not the most heralded venue in the heavy scene…St.Vitus Bar…(where bassist Nick works as the sound-man). On the stage of St. Vitus during off hours is where Mutoid Man’s new record ‘War Moans’ was assembled and constructed. Make no mistake, Mutoid Man are one of the most exciting bands in music. Destined for legend status in the underground if not more. Chock full of explosive attitude, bombastic energy, detonating musicianship, with aftershocks of memorable melodies, ‘War Moans’ is something to behold.
“Feel the heat, of the fire at your feet,” is the beginning salvo of opener ‘Melt your Mind.’ The music starts with galloping drums and bass with a killer melodic riff coming in over the top. Brodsky’s voice immediately brings to mind Magnus Pelander of Witchcraft. The song is feverish in its energy and direct in its delivery. Fantastic thrash riffs and punk rhythms fill the middle section to perfection. The chorus of ‘don’t let it melt your mind…’ makes me feel like they’re talking about this record. It is truly mind melting.
‘Bone Chain’ is next, and immediately rips and roars. Beginning with a chuggtastic riff and groove that you cant help but bang your head to. A stellar harmonized guitar section in the bridge goes into a shredder of a solo to end. ‘Micro Aggression’ follows with a punky start and a bluesy chord progression that flows into a sing along chorus with monstrous double bass underneath that crushes. These two songs are quick and flawless. Executed with a simple virtuosity that grabs you with immediacy.
‘Kiss of Death’ is fucking sick! Sick in every way that’s good. A wildly mathy intro that drops right into the heaviest riff up to this point. Its tongue in cheek lyrics are so well written and performed that the song almost fools you into thinking it’s a pop song…which I suppose it is. If that’s the case, then this is one of the heaviest pop songs ever. The end section is pure brutality. Holy shit I love this song!
‘War Moans’ has begun with banger after banger with absolutely no let up. Next is the jam, ‘Date with the Devil’ This song is a damn masterpiece of sonic intensity as well. Mutoid Man is blowing my skull in every facet. It kicks of with another thrash shredder of a riff with a swing rhythm. Sounds weird, but man does it work. The guitar tones on this song are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. Especially the verse riff. Goddamn! In under three minutes this tune takes you from space to earth and every where in between. I can’t explain the badassness of this song. More tongue in cheek lyrics but with meaning. Very hard combination to bring to fruition and Brodsky pulls it off in spades. Go listen for yourself and get your mind blown. Wow ‘Date with the Devil…just wow.
From the pure metal riffs and blast-beats on ‘Headrush’ to the Bad Religion style punk of ‘Irons in the Fire’ Mutoid Man are exquisite. I’m running out of adjectives and superlatives for this record.
The title track ‘War Moans’ follows. This song is all Slayer and Megadeth. A pure throwback thrash song but with a fresh feel. I’m completely mesmerized and hypnotized by the songwriting and performances on these songs. Simply stunning. Marty Friedman guest solos on this track.
‘Wreck and Survive’ is another metal manifesto of amazingness. With guest vocals by the awesome Chelsea Wolfe that add an atmosphere of eeriness to this diamond of a song.
‘Afterlife’ is a straightforward slab of weight with a Burnt by the Sun feel. ‘Open Flame’ rips and roars and who has your hair back from jump to landing.
Album closer ‘Bandages’ is Mutoid Man’s homage to 80’s hair metal balladry. It sounds a little off when described that way but, its so spectacularly awesome, and a perfect conclusion to ‘War Moans.’
Mutoid Man have utterly and fantastically impressed and intrigued me. No exaggeration needed…’War Moans’ is a complete masterpiece. There is not a single note or melody wasted. No fluff, no filler. Energy and fervor from beginning to end. Expertly crafted individual songs and a complete piece of art as a whole. My early choice for record of the year. Period. I could sit here and wax poetic all night about how much I truly love ‘War Moans,’ but I’m not going to. I am going to go listen to this record on repeat…and repeat…and repeat…