Review Summary: Blow me a kiss.
Mutoid Man play metal. Granted, that umbrella label encompasses much of my musical consumption, but there’s something about the swagger these guys bring to the table that’s undeniably metal in its purest, rawest form. Propelled by youthful exuberance and instrumental ferocity, Mutoid Man, though not necessarily boasting the heaviest sound in the world, brandish the spirit of metal in a manner unmatched by their contemporaries.
is fun. In this era of ultra-serious tough guy posturing within heavy music, it’s refreshing to hear a band sit down, write some lighthearted tunes, and crank out riffs like it’s nobody’s business. With that being said, Mutoid Man have more to offer than attitude; War Moans
is a surprisingly versatile record, dabbling in styles from stoner rock to traditional metal to thrash. The Slayer-tinged title track proves perhaps the best example of this versatility--an ode to “War Ensemble” in terms of both instrumentation and lyricism, it’s a very different animal than the tracks that precede it. Yet, despite this, it’s no less effective.
Though they rarely stick to one style, Mutoid Man’s tracks generally reside on a Voivod-meets-stoner rock foundation. The more straightforward rockers like “Melt Your Mind” and “Irons in the Fire” largely stick to this formula, while “Afterlife” and “Kiss of Death” build a more aggressive structure upon the groundwork. Emotional closer “Bandages” represents an even starker change of pace, a full-fledged ballad that heats up only for its climactic finish.
Though War Moans’
lyrical themes are all over the place, Mutoid Man avoid any substantial missteps. The extremely graphic nature of “Date with the Devil” is certainly a bit jarring, but the band just
manage to skate the fine line between comedy and gratuitous sexual debauchery. It’s a line upon which they appear more than comfortable, as album highlight “Kiss of Death,” though a tad juvenile, is too damn catchy and fun to deny.
This catchiness pervades everything Mutoid Man touch. The first track to the last, from every riff to every chorus, lodge themselves within the listener’s subconscious and spread throughout the central nervous system like a glorious metal parasite. These songs are simply undeniable in such a way that only a select few in recent memory can match. War Moans
is a damn near flawless collection of creative, buoyant rockers that simply refuses to falter or flatline. Boasting riffs and imagination in spades, it’s a rare reminder that bands can experiment and progress without sacrificing personality.