Mutoid Man are our new Van Halen, and their trajectory already looks pretty similar to Eddie and Alex’s prime with Diamond Dave. Helium Head was their Van Halen, a raw release of proficient energy that showed a brighter side to Steve Brodsky and Ben Koller’s mathcore pasts.
Bleeder resembles II and Women and Children First by finding new edges without sacrificing the fun, with Nick Cageao joining as Michael Anthony with Ben Green’s tone. War Moans is their Fair Warning, still rife with shreddy catchiness but a bit more impenetrable. There’s still a ton of spazz—“Melt Your Mind” is cut from the same hyperactive cloth as Bleeder’s leadoff, “Bridgeburner”—that’s tempered by the relative sludginess of “Kiss of Death” and the title track. The balance works, as it makes a track like “Headrush”—a contrast between hardcore and lofty Steve Harris instrumental—even more hellish. Brodsky’s Klaus Meine impression is more convincing, capturing not just his cadence but his ability to grin when doom is a next door neighbor. “Kiss of Death” in particular sounds like Kurt Ballou replaced Rudolf Schenker and is hellbent on leading Brodsky into an endless rat race. Darker by design or just circumstance? Hard to tell in these times. There’s more keyboard here, mostly background texture, and cosmic organ lays the foundation for the spacey and beautiful “Bandages.” Finally, they manage to just chill out, and Brodsky can summon a Space Ritual—is it blissful? War certainly is.
Via Decibel 8/10