Mutoid Man – War Moans (Sargent House)

Thursday, 1st June 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

Mutoid Man’s new War Moans is so good that it prompted this scribe to revisit their 2013 Helium Head offering, one that we were admittedly on the fence about. Perhaps it had more to do with the uneasiness of Cave-In’s Stephen Brodsky’s re-immersion into metal than anything, but further inspection revealed a heady, bouncy collage of upward thrash jigsaw ideas. (See, this is what happens when you let predisposed ideas get in the way of actually listening to an album.) With that out of the way, Brodsky, along with Converge skin-basher Ben Koller are back with an even better album, the aforementioned War Moans.

An album that is divided by an over-the-top first half and a more serious angle on the second, there is never a lack of driving, turnstile riffs from Brodsky, who takes mutated thrash riffs and siphons them through his own demented filter. The brash, kamikaze approach taken on “Bone Chain” and “Date with the Devil” supply numerous knifing moments not in the guitar department, but also from Brodsky’s smooth, but relaxed clean vocal delivery.

War Moans crests on “Headrush” and in particular, “Irons in the Fire,” a hyper-kinetic thrash pounder that is part-Motorhead, part-Coroner, it would seem. To add further intrigue, former Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman lends a guest solo to the title track, another manic, heads-down plunge with an effective, jostling chorus to boot.

Thrash’s perpetual back and forth between retro mongering and technical push-throughs means nothing to Mutoid Man, who have taken the style’s fundamental elements and wrapped them around a telephone pole. But point being, War Moans is a whirling dervish of an album, free-form, good-idea-dominated metal that only a fool would pass up.

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