Review Summary: Mushroomhead’s debut album is a poorly produced album from a second rate nu metal band that had not yet found their identity.
Slipknot, GWAR, and Mudvayne are all metal bands that wear masks, costumes, and use stage names. They are known for their theatric live shows, and often play sold out shows in large arenas. And then there’s Mushroomhead. Mushroomhead never achieved any of the success that other masked metal bands did. Mushroomhead are known for their unique live shows, but they tend to play small venues. They never went on massive arena tours like Slipknot. They never had any hit singles like “Dig”, and never had any Grammy wins like ”Before I Forget”. This is because Mushroomhead plays a mediocre version of nu metal that appeals to few metal fans. Mushroomhead’s lackluster career starts with this self-titled debut album released in 1995. Although Mushroomhead’s debut album predates Slipknot’s by 4 years, it is nowhere near as impressive. Mushroomhead’s debut album is a poorly produced album from a second rate nu metal band that had not yet found their identity.
At this point in their career, Mushroomhead were a local band in Cleveland. This is reflected in their sound as the album plays like a low budget demo released by a local band. The album completely lacks direction. Mushroomhead consists of 14 songs. Six of these songs are instrumental interludes. Most of the interludes such as “Slow Thing” and “Intermission” consist of movie samples played over piano parts. These songs are pointless and add nothing to the album. The only purpose they serve is as filler.
The final song, titled “Compilation,” is a 12 minute medley consisting of clips of other songs on the album. There is nothing on this song that listeners have not already heard on the previous songs. The song is pointless, and it is baffling that the band would even include this on the album.
The first proper song on the album, titled “Elevation,” is only 3 minutes song. However, it feels much longer. After a full minute of electronic wankery, Jeffree Nothing’s boring vocals begin. They are quickly followed by some high notes that sound like they could have come off a Judas Priest album. The song seems to drone on forever without any climax.
The only notable songs on the album are “Too Much Nothing,” “Ego Trip,” and “43.” They are catchy hard rock songs that are dominated by the band’s two vocalists, Jeffree Nothing and J Mann. Mushroomhead’s Faith No More influences are on full display here as the vocalists do their best Mike Patton impressions on these songs. The highlight of the album by far is J Mann’s rap styled screaming on “Ego Trip.” J Mann is a brutal metal vocalist. Unfortunately, he does not have much presence of this album as most songs are dominated by Jeffree Nothing.
Mushroomhead doesn’t do much of note on this album instrumentally. The album is composed of unmemorable guitar riffs, and mostly inaudible bass. Schmotz stands out with his keyboard and piano playing on many songs. However, his playing clashes with JJ Righteous and Mr. Murdernickle’s metal riffs.
Although there are some interesting ideas on this album, the band ultimately fails to meld them together in a cohesive way. Mushroomhead cannot decide whether they want to make EDM, guitar driven nu-metal, or Faith No More inspired funk rock. The album is especially marred by Jeffree Nothing’s atrocious vocals. J Mann’s impressive vocal performance fails to redeem the album from this. In retrospect, these issues continue to plague Mushroomhead throughout their career. Mushroomhead’s debut album is a rocky start to an unimpressive career.