The God And Devil's Schnapps

Written by: AP on 28/09/2010 21:50:49

Someone forgot to send the news to Poland that nu-metal is dead. From this blissful obliviousness comes Mouga with their debut offering, "The God and Devil's Schnapps", a strange amalgamation of emotional post-hardcore à la The Used, lo-fi metalcore in the vein of 36 Crazyfists, and bruising nu-metal done like Element Eighty. Critics outside the Polish bubble have dismissed it as utter garbage - the Mona Lisa in the art of crafting poor music - but if one momentarily hops off the nu-metal hatred bandwagon and focuses on the essential (the music), one will realise that the ups of this disc outnumber its downs by a considerable margin.

Many have slated Mouga for Konyu's vocals in particular, but judging from the general tone that such magazines and webzines maintain towards anything alternative to specific types of metal, it should be safe to say that many don't have the slightest understanding about the genre - or rather, the cross of genres - that Mouga is dealing with. So if we place "The God and Devil's Schnapps" in the correct context, and accept that Mouga is not trying to be a zealous metal band, the rewards of this album will become that much clearer.

As hinted in the opening blurb, there is a strong undercurrent of early 36 Crazyfists and The Used, as well as a somewhat obscure nu-metal band called Element Eighty, in Mouga's music. These influences are most apparent in the intermittent vocal section, which consists primarily of reverberating clean vocals, and occasionally of some decent screaming reminiscent of "Page Avenue" era Story of the Year. The vocals are sufficiently dynamic to create an overall memento despite the fact that the individual songs, with the exception of "Placebo Silence", are perhaps not as instantly memorable as one would like them to be.

The real merit in Mouga's music is the instrumental work though, a seldom seen phenomenon in nu-metal - a genre renowned for its uninspired, crushingly heavy powerchord based instrumentation and the equally pointless rhythm section that comes with it. But then again, Mouga features two guitarists (one of whom is Konyu), not to mention that Polish bands are precisely renowned for creating highly experimental sounds with their instruments (see Riverside for instance). The prowess is not immediately apparent, but with some attention to detail the guitar lines and especially the drumming become increasingly impressive - not necessarily inhumanly complex like Brann Dailor's (Mastodon), but just extremely tight.

So what to make of this release? One thing is certain, stuff like this is always bound to divide opinions into two extremes, but based on what I have heard during these ten songs, I have decided to be a bit of a maverick and plant myself smack in the middle of these camps. "The God and Devil's Schnapps" is a highly competent piece of music, but because it's lagging behind in current trends, it fails to come across as particularly relevant.


Download: Placebo Silence, Don't Look Down, Ten Miles Away, The Animal
For the fans of: 36 Crazyfists, Element Eighty, Spineshank, The Used
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.04.2010
Mystic Production

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