Mutoid Man - Helium Head
Magic Bullet Records
Noise Rock
7 songs (16'38")
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Talented people have a large number of reasons why they create music, and while some take themselves very seriously, it is often that some of the best results arise when musicians have a ton of fun doing it. I know little about Stephen Brodsky and Ben Koller, as well as their respective acts Cave In and Converge. (Some hardcore roots are suspected.) Yet listening to the pair’s creation Mutoid Man, represented by the opening salvo Helium Head, I can assure you of one fact. With all of their playing skills firmly on display Stephen and Ben had plenty of fun putting Helium Head together, and it shows.

If there is a way to call heavy punky debauchery jovial, then Helium Head is jovial noise rock. This is probably the best term I can assign to this hardcore tinged crazy jam, the phantasmagoria of chords and riffs, the cacophony, which makes complete sense. While the sound on Helium Head is monstrously heavy, bass strings are forearm thick, the end result is strangely uplifting, by design or not.

Speaking of playing progressive music, regardless of how heavy it is, high voltage guitars can’t restrain themselves and careen out of control at times (Friday the 13/8). Bass/drums provide foundation for perpetuating steadier rocking motion (Lost in the Hive), or snap knees right from under you with crazy roller coaster rides (Scrape the Walls). In a way, you are thankful that cut is not an opener, as it does take a bit to get used to what Mutoid Man is about. In this sense Gnarcissist is a perfect mind blower to start with, as melody does poke its modest face from behind the congestion. There is so much stuffed in these quick-hitting songs, the 17 min the album lasts will fly way too fast. Another excuse to leave Helium Head on a replay loop, something I was guilty of last week. When no less heavy, but a little slower, and thus less crazy The Manimals closes with a melodic bluesy solo, the hand reached for that button without asking. In places (Gnarcissist) where Stephen even tries to harmonize to this bedlam, his vocals can be called borderline “soaring”. But when the moment calls for it, he is ready to fill in with most hardcore relevant screams (Friday the 13/8).

Since I spent so much time with Helium Head this week, it satisfied my weekly fill of wild, out there music. If Mutoid Man comes across your horizons, absolutely give it a chance, the surprise tag I am assigning it is completely deserved.

Killing Songs :
Gnarsissist, The Manimals, Scavengers
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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