Review Summary: You'll find a note and you'll see my silhouette...
The second in a series of demo tapes by the still-developing Mr. Bungle, Bowel of Chiley
finds the band still trying to find their ideal voice, and making another attempt at getting their music out to the local radio stations and to the public in Eureka, California, Mr. Bungle’s hometown. At this point, founding member Jed Watts had been replaced by Hans Wagner; and due to the drastically changing styles Mr. Bungle undertook, the employment of Scott Fritz and Theo Lengyel were essential to the band as an addition to their evolving sound.
A smorgasbord of the genres of ska, metal, funk, and swing, Bowel of Chiley
was a mesh of ideas that, unfortunately, just didn’t gel; and features Mr. Bungle at their absolute worst. The amount of talent the band had for just being kids fresh out of high school is astounding for sure, however there were several problems that plagued the band. Among these was the fact that Mike Patton was struggling to find his voice, and the band just weren’t “there” yet with the “ideal sound” they were possibly trying to discover and conquer. The fifty-five minute expedition of absurdity, sound collages, and enough genre changing to make the head spin was a showcase of a band nowhere near their prime; and furthermore, was an absolute mess. The songs overstay their welcome, and a good majority of them are mediocre tracks that manage to make the listener wonder if this is the same Mr. Bungle that would go on to make three of the best albums of the 1990s. For the few tracks that somehow don’t drag on for too long, they are relatively decent songs that are worth a listen every once in a while ("Jumping (Parts One and Two)"
In retrospect, Bowel of Chiley
is an extremely varied effort. Featuring a minimal amount of moments worth listening to, and a great chunk of stuff worth ignoring, it shows the band at their most crude and underdeveloped by musical means. Not to mention, the audio quality has a very notable drop in quality near the end that further drives the point home of the poor quality of this particular demo tape. In the end, Bowel of Chiley
is simply the baby steps in the early days of a renowned band, who’d go on to do much greater things.