Music Review: Mushroomhead – Beautful Stories For Ugly Children

Picked this CD up at a show a while back & it’s pretty much resided in my car stereo ever since.  This is the 7th studio release by the Alternative metal act out of Cleveland, who are now sporting even creepier masks & continuing to utilize a subtle mixture of various music styles including Prog Metal, Industrial, EBM & Death Metal.  Mushroomhead have always been difficult to categorize, their sound varying from trance-like to orchestral to pummeling, oft times propelled by a heavy groove & deft use of keyboards and percussion.  Clean vocalist Jeffrey Nothing has a distinctive style unlike anyone else in Metal – sustained & powerful like a trained stage performer,  contrasting sharply with the darker, almost mechanized rhythm of the guitars.  Waylon’s growling vocals cover the most aggressive sections of the songs, but Nothing seems to be the featured voice of the two.

Opening tune ‘Come On’ is a nice anthem that the band released as a video, which was promptly banned from MTV due it’s violent content (it features Ultimate Fighters in a cage match, so go figure).  Other fav’s of mine are ‘Holes In The Void’ – which again showcases the Pink Floyd influences of the group, and the urban tribal rocker ‘Harvest The Garden’.  For a complete change of pace, I recommend ”Do I Know You?’ which concludes the disc, a nifty brooding piece with eerie childrens voices echoing in the background & emotionally tinged (albeit brief) lyrics.

And speaking of lyrics, the band’s trend towards more open anti-religious sentiment continues with the acidic ‘Inspiration’ which declares “You baptized me don’t you see?  I choose not to believe”.   I keep wondering if like Slipknot to whom they’re often compared, Mushroomhead will start utilizing pentagrams etc., which would seem out of place to me but then again the digi-pack to this release does in fact open to an inverted cross design.  Coincidence or foreboding, you decide.

Overall, Mushroomhead have done a great job of further defining their sound & image, and despite being categorized as an ‘underground’ act, they clearly perform and project anything but second rate talent.  Hopefully their fan base will continue to grow with this offering, so the rest of the world can appreciate what we in Ohio have known for quite some time; Mushroomhead is a creative, intense live act that can truly entertain.

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