Mutoid Man - War Moans (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Mutoid Man

War Moans (2017)

Sargent house

Roughly a year ago, a video of Mutoid Man playing Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” on a New York subway hit the internet. That video is pure enjoyment. Drummer Ben Koller sits behind a child’s drum set as Nick Cageao destroys his neon green bass. All the while, singer/guitarist Stephen Brodsky chugs and sings along. The cover is straightforward and loud, even through tinny portable amps and gigantic smiles. With members belonging to Converge and Cave In, Mutoid Man is hard to beat for street cred but they exist simply for pleasure.

Wasting no time Mutoid Man’s sophomore effort War Moans jumps into high gear with its first notes. It’s cleaner than 2015’s Bleeder but not at the risk of alienation. Ten is still the preferred speed and volume and the music is still heavy. Koller, never one to disappoint behind the kit, gets to experiment considerably more as this projects exists outside the realm of hardcore. Cageao’s bass, often taking a more punk rock approach, flies through the songs. Brodsky, though, is having the most fun. His rock-star persona erupts in full force when he wails right before jumping into lightning fast riffs. There are plenty of metal and punk influences, but the music feels accessible and consumable. As long as you don’t mind speed.

The band plays with all sorts of genre characteristics, augmenting cheesy 80s and pop metal and dabbling in more than its fair share of thrash. “Don’t let it melt your mind,” Brodsky warns on the opener, but the album goes on to do just that. They swing fast (“Afterlife”), heavy (title track) and even soft (“Bandages”). But nothing hits harder than the back-to-back punches of “Kiss of Death” and “Date With the Devil.” Reminiscent of the Tom Jones cover, these two songs get to the core of Mutoid Man. They are comical but delivered earnestly. “Came inside of Satan's daughter. Nine months later, who's the father?” is downright funny but the menacing tone doesn’t pause for a laugh break.

War Moans is an absolute blast in every way. The songs are fast and fun and make you want to play every available air instrument. Mutoid Man is so proficient, expectations and tropes are mutilated at will, leaving you amped up even if you have nowhere to go.