Review: Mutoid Man’s Mutants is Chock Full of Radioactive Riffs and Gamma Ray Grooves
Whenever a highly anticipated album is announced, there’s a nagging sense of excitement that precedes every little thing about it. Headlines of “Band X Says This About Their New Album” helps drum up excitement. “Check Out Band X’s Latest Single” revs up our internal hype machine. It’s all created to sell a narrative that you absolutely must stop everything you’re doing and pay attention because this new shit? It’s going to blow your ass off with how good it is.
Such was the case for me when Mutoid Man announced Mutants back in May and dropped its first single, “Call Of The Void.” To say my level of excitement to hear more was damn high could be an understatement. But that kind of reaction should be expected, considering the trio is comprised of Cave In vocalist/guitarist Stephen Brodsky, Converge drummer Ben Koller, and High On Fire‘s bassist Jeff Matz. That’s an especially percussive, progressive, and powerful mix of individuals that should get any metal fan stoked.
Yet once I sat down and listened to the entirety of Mutants, I realized that I wasn’t actually prepared for the final product. The singles were one thing, but there was so much more to enjoy and be excited about Mutants.
You see, Mutants is a two-faced behemoth. One one side, you’ve got the singles that came out ahead of today’s release: “Call Of The Void,” “Siren Song,” and “Demons.” The first two of those tracks are groovy, approachable tunes that at times feel anthemic — like they were built for a crowd to sing along. That’s not to say they skimp on the intensity at all, mind you. These songs kick absolute ass and I find myself continually coming back to them.
Meanwhile, “Demons” was the first indication that the album might have more up its sleeve than initially suggested. Like most of the album, it’s frenetic yet sludgy, fast yet it sways because it’s “got heart and soul.” Brodsky’s got a little bit of the blues in his vocal delivery when he’s not exploding behind the mic with a sort of easy-going intensity.
That same energy is found in songs like “Graveyard Love,” “Frozen Hearts,” and “Siphon.” Each track builds with an intensity that doesn’t let up. If you’re familiar with any of the other bands these dudes play in, that should come as zero surprise. Meanwhile, “Broken Glass Ceiling” has a kind of heavy sway that’s very bass-forward. It uses that low end to slow down just long enough for you to catch your breath before things speed up again.
And while most song has their own intricacies and quirks that stand out, many of them fall into a sludgy, groove-laden breakdown that should really please the kids down in the pit. “Unborn,” for example, is just heavy as fuck. It’s got chugging riffs galore and Koller just goes wild behind the kit. At times in the sing it feels like things are about to unravel, but they never do.
Something similar happens in “Broken Glass Ceiling,” where nearly three minutes into the song, the track breaks down into a super heavy section that you can easily break your neck headbanging to.
Honestly, Mutoid Man oscillate between speeds and tempos in a way that leave you mesmerized and wondering where each song is going to go next.
From the moment you hit play, Mutants demands your attention. As the band’s follow up to 2018’s War Moans, this record offers to groove with you one moment, before deciding it would much rather lead you around the room by your neck. The twists and turns it has on offer are well worth the price of admission and easily make it one of the best releases of 2023.
Mutoid Man’s Mutants is out today via Sargent House. You can grab it for yourself wherever you get your music.