It seems uncommon for a “supergroup” to actually be any good. Sure, it seems great on paper to take good artists from different bands and stick them together, because the result has to be epic, right? Well many attempts have been made, but alas, only a few have been worthy of more than just a gimmick.
Despite this, Battle of Mice seems to be an exception to the failure of the so-called supergroup. The band consists of Julie Christmas (Made out of Babies), Josh Graham (Neurosis), Joel Hamilton (Book of Knots), and Joe Tomino (Fugees). Together they bring arguably the most eerie and perhaps just plain scary post-metal albums to date.
The most prominent feature of the band is the vocal work. Julie Christmas has a voice like no other; ranging from high pitched, ear piercing screams, to soft yet unnerving whispers. Between the shrill screaming and the unusual screaming, she is able to give the music a feeling of a psychopathic nature. Though the vocals are harsh and strange, that by no way means that they are bad. The originality of her vocal delivery is staggering and hauntingly beautiful. In “Salt Bridge” Julie shows some of her best vocal work by conveying emotions with her voice extremely well, albeit sometimes they are mostly through her psychopathic screams.
As for the guitars, well they are sometimes just as eerie. Josh Graham has the great ability to make an atmosphere within the music by using a lot of distortion to create sharp screeches and slow paced, mellow chords to back up the vocals. The drumming on this album is like icing on the cake. You may realize it’s not very apparent in the music, but it helps the atmosphere immensely. The slow, droning beats help give the album the dark, bleak feeling that it has.
It must be said that the album isn’t perfect; the album does have very, very minute flaws. One nit-pick being that the closing song should have been “At the Base of the Giant’s Throat”, mainly because of the disturbing end to the song which consists of a 911 call that is played to hear panic driven screams and the operator trying in futility to get her address to send help. Although it only takes away from the album in the slightest, I believe that closing with that song would have made the end of the album perfect. On the other hand, while the song that does close the album is good… it is also forgettable compared to the rest of the album. The lyrics are some of the most disturbing on the album, but the song seems to lack some of the substance that kept you entertained through the rest of the album.
Though the whole album may be unpleasant to many casual music listeners because of its eerie sound, I believe that anyone with an open mind to music could come to love this album for its uniqueness alone. It also happens to be one of the best releases from a supergroup that I have heard. So whether you are a fan of post-metal or just unique music in general, you should pick up this album. I guarantee that you have not heard anything like it.