Mutoid Man


Written by: AP on 26/10/2015 17:18:11

On paper, the credentials of the personnel involved with Mutoid Man should have any connoisseur of the more alternative types of hardcore frothing at the mouth. In the trio’s line-up sit two revered gentlemen in Ben Koller (drummer of All Pigs Must Die and Converge) and Stephen Brodsky (vocalist/guitarist and primary composer of Cave In) next to their mutual friend, bassist Nick Cageao, and when you add Kurt Ballou as the production engineer for this first full-length album “Bleeder”, it must not come as a huge surprise, the style of music practiced on it. Indeed, the record serves as a logical continuation of the band’s debut EP “Helium Head”, which with its wealth of melodic hooks, mathematic riffs, metallic hardcore fury and an appreciation of classic rock nuances, had Brodsky written all over it.

That remains unchanged on “Bleeder”, though it seems that despite Koller’s handling the drumming in each of his current occupations, his work with Converge, too, has played a role in shaping the record’s sound. The liquid resonance of Brodsky’s leads certainly harks back to Ballou’s own style on the more recent work of the aforementioned pioneers, but given the close associations between all of these artists, that should not be surprising. In fact listeners with a lot of experience with acts from the Deathwish Inc. and Throatruiner rosters will accept the rooting in Converge as an integral element in this type of hardcore, not least because Ballou is more often than not credited as the producer. Mutoid Man do plenty to distinguish themselves largely by virtue of Brodsky’s mad ingenuity when it comes to song writing. The trio switches with ease from highly contagious stoner punk to psychedelic sludge between opening track “Bridgeburner” and “Bleeder” at the rear end, and explores a variety of interesting tangents across the eight songs that lie sandwiched in their embrace. There is a real will to experiment here that one often longs for in the hardcore genre, with Mutoid Man bringing together dizzying technicality, punishing pummel and spaciously anthemic touches often in the space of a single song — which is all the more impressive given that the majority of them never reach past the two-and-a-half-minute mark. Songs like “Sweet Ivy” and “Deadlock” first draw you in with a sensitive tunefulness before baring teeth as Brodsky’s melodious singing transforms into a murderous scream, and sometimes even a maddening howl or bluesy croon.

In a sense, listening to a song like “Dead Dreams” — a magnificent choice if you need a striking single to facilitate the process of getting on board with “Bleeder”, by the way — one cannot escape the realisation that through Mutoid Man, Brodsky might be attempting to revitalise the magic of the dynamics that made Cave In’s “Until Your Heart Stops” and “Jupiter” such understated masterpieces. The trio’s careening through both metallic hardcore and progressive rock flourishes certainly speaks in favour of such a hypothesis, especially given the errant time signatures and convoluted melodies. The trouble is Mutoid Man never manage to launch themselves into creative orbit in the way that Cave In did; none of the material that comprises “Bleeder” provokes disappointment, but genuine moments of awe arrive too rarely to justify unbridled praise. Having let loose that criticism though, “Bleeder” is not an album to let fly by without notice. Ripe with skilled writing, technical prowess and the odd moment of instant memorabilia, the album maintains a high standard throughout — just don’t be expecting the carpet to be swept from beneath your feet.


Download: Bridgeburner, Reptilian Soul, Sweet Ivy, Deadlock
For the fans of: Cave In, Converge, Doomriders, Torche
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.06.2015
Sargent House

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