When Ben Koller of Converge and Steve Brodsky came together back in 2012 two of the foremost thinking minds of the metalcore scene melded to produce the outfit known today as Mutoid Man. Initial aspirations were to produce frantic, no frills metal; moving away from their musical roots. With bassist Nick Cageo on board their debut release Bleeder showed them heading in that direction. A fresh edgy view on the traditional heavy metal genre.
War Moans, their latest opus, expands on the initial direction of the band, fast passed drawing from the punk ethos but still encompassing that fresh take on the heavy metal ideals and with an added mild hint of prog.
Opening at an extremely fast pace, Melt Your Mind dives in face first. There is no introduction to their modus operandi, straight off the speed of the bass and drums hit you as the guitar ramps up. Very much building on that punk ethos two minutes of blisteringly quick heavy metal with a catchy chorus that will easily be a fan favourite and I would suggest a great live set opener.
The bands template does not change for Bone Chain, still at speed but a darker and certainly heavier undertone is present. The song is lead by Brodsky's distinctive vocals, which on their own set them apart from anything that has come before. Micro Aggression is a punchy, sharp completely untraditional love song, frantically fast whining guitars batter the senses distinctively different from the songs prior.
Kiss of Death is a far more tradition "heavy metal song", music building for a good minute track on really kicks in. Lyrically depicted on the album sleeve with the devil, dressed as a soldier, giving the kiss of death to a fellow soldier in a rather homoerotic image, no doubt intended to agitate the far right whilst giving the thinking man the some food for thought. The dark themed tune weaves through the story being told without the pace we've seen prior, giving the album overall some variance which helps in the overall delivery.
Date with the Devil again changes your outlook on this release, the intro somewhat Ghost like in its sound, certainly something Papa Emeritus would have been proud to have written. As the track expands you are drawn into it, Koller's throbbing drum beat mesmerizing. Headrush draws us out of this world, the pace quickens again and the short sharp punk-like tracking returns. Flipping you upside down with the catchy lyrics and fast blasting guitar. Irons In the Fire turns it round again, an intro befitting any NWOBHM song, but expanding back into a deeper world, guitars searching for a new sound and driven again by he vocal talents of Brodsky.
As you would expect the title track War Moans gets full billing on the album, an epic track fitting of the place it takes. Built on the fundamental blocks laid out by the likes of Iron Maiden, but Maiden by numbers this is not, the song building to the stunning guitar solo nearing the end. Having said that, Wreck and Survive, is almost the polar opposite of the title track, heavily relying on a nu metal sound that takes me back to the late nighties and my youth.
Following on Afterlife mixes the two in a song that certainly sounds different; punk pace, nu metal feelings and an essence of Iron Maiden in the only track on the album that doesn't really win me over. Open Flame is a more rounded song. The edge is taken off and there is a smoother feel to its production. Still retaining the urgency in the delivery of the music but with a production polish that whilst sounding fantastic makes you wish your senses where being battered again as they have been up until now.
The album is rounded out with Bandages featuring guest appearances from both Chelsea Wolfe and Ben Chisholm. A slower number, helps aid your come down from the frantic pace we've experienced for the last hour. Instrumentally monolithic and vocally superb from the guest stars its a wonderful way to round out a truly inspirational album.