The Soundgarden reference in the band name is no coincidence. Back during Mind Riot's 90s tenure, the guys hybridised death metal with the brand of alternative rock that was big on the airwaves (among other things) to surprisingly enjoyable results. The lead-off track from their 1995 debut saw an adventurous blend of pulsating rock riffing, a jangly clean bridge with a guest female vocalist and a perfectly placed burst of tremolo and growls, all held together by a ridiculously strong chorus that heyday Dinosaur Jr would kill for. The band wasn't afraid to experiment, ramming together whatever the hell it felt like and playing it with conviction and delight, somehow making all the disparate influences come together in a weird musical melting pot utopia.
Seeing how everybody is reuniting these days, to variable degrees of success, it shouldn't be too surprising that Mind Riot got back together as well, especially as their guitarists have been part of another active, recording band for the past two decades. However, 15 of those 20 years have been spent plowing a rather stereotypical metal sound. This is not without impact on Come Undone, as the constituents are considerably less varied than in the days of yore and largely boil down to death/thrash with some folksy influenced slower melodic work. Even the singer changed his manner, losing his old drawl for a more conventional delivery. All of this works just fine on the opening cut, which starts with a true banger of a melody and somehow continues to get better with each passing second - a clean section feeling like the guys' take on the harmonic ideals of metalcore, super simple yet effective root riffing, a key modulation arriving just in time, only to meld the resulting tension into something beautiful by increasing the picking intensity and offering the most delicious pinch harmonic I ever heard. A smasher of a track, that one.
Unfortunately, the rest of the EP is largely formulaic and stereotypical, containing but brief bursts of inspired content, and even then it's often unnecessarily butchered by the arrangement. The prime example of this is "Blindfold", where a solid guitar line and the singer finally giving his all get obscured by an autopilot d-beat and completely unnecessary harmonisation. The worst offender is "Farewell" with its godawful up-tempo workout that's been done hundreds of times before with more heart, drum fills and all. The fact this is track two after the wonderful opener sends the EP into a tailspin from which it never really recovers. Gone is the sense of engagement and fun, the strange catchiness that permeated from every crevice of the original releases. However, the title track gives me hope that there may be still some juice left in there. Hope they manage to tap into it more successfully in the future, there's nothing quite as tantalising as potential being squandered in plain sight.