Mutoid Man’s evolution takes them into psyche blazing, fiery metallics on punchy ‘Bleeder’

Mutoid ManHalfway through the week is a great time to acquire the kick in the ass one needs to keep moving over the other side of the hump. I know by this point I’m usually badly in need of a boost, and considering caffeine eats away at my already fragile anxiety, that really isn’t the answer to find the strength I need.

This is where a great high-octane album can come in and do the trick, and “Bleeder,” the first full-length effort from Mutoid Man, more than fits the bill. Originally a fun side project pitting two rock behemoths in Steve Brodsky (Cave In) and Ben Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die), the band’s initial EP “Helium Head” hinted that there was something there worth exploring further. Now, a couple years later and with the addition of bassist Nick Cageao, the band has grown further, fuzzed up their sound even more, and come up with a killer 10-track album that is a lot of fun to behold. Yeah, brutality and out-right metal fury aren’t vital parts of the mix on this record (though they exist in some form). Instead, we’re treated to powerful riffs, melodic singing that might make some think of 1970s classic rock, and a rough underbelly that the rhythm section works to make as meaty as possible.

Mutoud Man coverThere are a lot of audiences who could find favor with Mutoid Man’s infectious sound. Those clinging to the classic Hydra Head days are sure to love what they hear here, as will fans of bands such as Queens of the Stone Age and Torche. There’s also a lot of psyched-out magic going on, music lightning that will scorch you, and plenty of blood-surging rock to get you out of whatever rut you’re in. It’s not exactly dictionary-definition metal, but there’s enough thrashy goodness and doomy power to please even the grimmest among us.

“Bridgeburner” tears open the record properly, with chugging guitars, mucky fury, and a galloping assault, as vocals barb poking, “Time to wash my hands of you.” Psyche melodies work their way in, and the track ends in demolition. “Reptilian Soul” bursts from the gates, blistering and crunching its way ahead, with explosive fun all along the way. “Sweet Ivy” opens with a shimmery haze before it ends up in the mud. The vocals have a clean swagger that you can’t shake, while the soloing burns hard, the riffs smear, and Brodsky ends the thing howling, “Everything is green!” “1,000 Mile Stare” mauls at the start with sooty and catchy playing mixed in with bluesy guitar. The back end of the thing ignites, with the fellows thrashing heavily and causing major bodily bruising. “Surveillance” also brings the punishment, with the drums absolutely crushed and the singing washed in echoes. Later on, Brodsky ditches the singing for some metallic growls, as the pace smokes, and he wails, “Watching me watching you.”

“Beast” is a short blast that is over before you know it, with the leads swimming, the drums whipping rocks, and the guitars leaving you dizzy. “Dead Dreams” has sludgy charging with punchy riffs, and once again, the blues-infested guitars come back to bite you. Things spiral into madness, with the back end built on clubbing and shouts. “Soft Spot in My” lets drums blasts erupt, with a jerky riff over top that later melts in the heat. “My mind is yours to control!” Brodsky insists, as the final moments delve back into psychedelics. “Deadlock” has Maiden-like guitars that blow down the doors, the vocals splitting into screaming, and a smothering, noise-infested finish that fills the room with smoke. The closing title track, the longest on the album at 5:55, takes its time building a mood, with cleaner guitars trickling and reflective melodies present. Then the intensity builds and Geddy Lee-style vocals histrionics explode, with Brodsky stabbing, “Gave you my blood,” as the smoldering sounds and threatening pace build, eventually burning out at the end with power and glory.

Mutoid Man have evolved into a really spectacular outfit, and “Bleeder” is a perfectly sized, pleasing listen that will make you immediately come back for more. This basher is a quick burst of fury, and soul, and hopefully it is just the beginning of this band’s meteoric journey into the stars. There’s so much to like on this record, and it’s sure to make the rest of your week that much more tolerable. And wait until you hear how this thing sounds over beers this weekend!

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