Review Summary: A fun and freely available metal record with historical relevance.
Mr. Bungle is a band you've likely heard of if you've ever bothered to google Mike Patton. Their 3 studio albums are legendary: Mr. Bungle
a wicked metal/funk/ska/synthpop blizzard produced by John Zorn, Disco volante
a stunning collection of experimental music beyond any comparison, and California
an anthology of whatever genres of music have hit the radio in the past five decades. Until their break-up they toured and recorded with many musicians and took up a lot of instruments. However, the core members and their key functions have always been:
Mike Patton - Vocals, keys
Trey Spruance - Guitars, keys
Trevor Dunn - Bass
Danny Heifetz - Drums
Clinton "Bär" McKinnon - Horns, keys
Other than that, saxophonist Theo Lengyel is of note, having played on every release except California
Demo-tape The raging wrath of the Easter bunny
shows the band in their beginning years ('84-'86), when they were about the age of 15-18. Kinnon wasn't included yet. The tape itself is a collector's item but the songs (and those off their subsequent demo-tapes) have all been made freely available by the band. Among other places, they can be found here: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/04/the_raging_wrat.html, and by FTP on http://www.bunglefever.com
This is also the tape that prompted Jim Martin of Faith No More to recruit Mike Patton as their lead singer. Ironically, Patton is the only musician here who doesn't give any implication of his musical prowess (or it would have to be his rapping on the ridiculous Evil Satan
) - he just screams and growls his way through the album grindcore-style. Effectively, I might add, but not even a speck of what he has proven to be capable of since FNM's The real thing
. Spruance shreds like a maniac and designs original and blazing fast riffs, Dunn keeps up just fine and drops great fills here and there, Heifetz guides you through all the rhythm and tempo changes despite being horribly undermixed, and Lengyel's freejazz sax solo is the sole saving grace for Evil Satan
This (let's just call it an album) album offers a dark goth instrumental (Grizzly Adams
), a silly ska/metal crossover (Hypocrites
, an awkward attempt at cramming as many styles in 3 minutes as possible (aforementioned Evil Satan
), and five delicious contemporary metal pastiches. Especially those well acquainted with Mr. Bungle's later work will love hearing these young virtuosos shamelessly quote Slayer and other such bands. The fun and humor are evident, if only for song titles like Spreading the thighs of death
and Anarchy up your anus
, but the talent is just as obvious - the songs are mostly well-composed, epic, varied, ingeniously performed, punch-packing, basically all that one would look for in metal songs that cross the 4-minute mark.
And yea, the production is utter crap, done by a 16 year old Trey Spruance using a 4 or 8 track tape recorder. As one of many results (such as an inaudible snare drum and LOTS of static), the lower (nickel wound) strings of his guitar make a little 'ploof' sound when struck. I absolutely LOVE it - somehow, it alone gives the music the perfect amount of goofiness.
Get a hold of this stuff, not often is a documental album as entertaining as this. Especially considering the crap they recorded on their subsequent demos Bowel of Chiley
and Goddammit I love America!
(also available on http://www.bunglefever.com).