Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children review by Mushroomhead

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Sep 28, 2010
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.5 (51 votes)
Mushroomhead: Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children
1

Sound — 7
Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children a quirky title inspired by the 80's comic book of the same name does take various twists in turns thematically/emotionally and does indeed relay a bit of a storybook feel. That being said, the seventh album by the alt-metal band Mushroomhead isn't necessarily a huge musical departure. What does stand out on the 12-track record is the fact that drummer Skinny has taken his playing up a notch, which allows for the often-chugging guitars to have a much more interesting backing. The core songwriting doesn't leave a huge impression upon the first listen, but the variety of rhythmic movement and overall lyrical content does keep things moving along smoothly.

The opening track Come On was also selected as the band's first single, and it's easy to understand why in terms of commercial success. Out of all of the songs on Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, Come On is the one that screams anthem. With an in-your-face chorus that could easily be the theme song for any sporting/wrestling event (if they're okay with the F bomb, that is), Come On will appeal to plenty of listeners by its bravado alone. While it's not the most impressive in terms of its arrangement, it should undoubtedly open some doors for Mushroomhead.

Elsewhere on the album, results are often inconsistent. You do have a good number of tracks that follow the usual alt-metal format, but there are some gems in the bunch. Burn The Bridge showcases some very interesting time signature choices, with the guitars and the drums seemingly doing their own thing at a few moments. I'll Be Here incorporates children singing la la la within the chorus (making for a somewhat creepy vibe), while Harvest The Garden features an intro that is driven by Skinny's insanely cool primal drum beats.

There's a satisfying mix of tempos throughout Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children and is never mired by the same setup over and over again. In one moment you might have The Feel, which could be considered the sexiest track with its slow groove and intriguing harmonies by both Nothing and Waylon. In the next moment you have Darker Days, a number built around straightforward riffs and chugging guitars. The band knows how to wrap it all up effectively, selecting the pensive-yet-slightly-eerie Do I Know You? a slowly creeping track that once again utilizes sampling of a child's voice, producing an eerie effect in itself.

Lyrics — 8
There's a wide range of approaches to the lyrical content on the album, and even with the clichs that abound in the single Come On there are moments of cleverness. That particular chorus is pretty standard and screams for a sing (or yell) along, but the verses do have their moments (I've got my hammer, duct tape, Visqueen; I know that nobody believes me; I've got something to say; Born in my bloody reign). At the other end of the spectrum is the self-reflection of The Harm You Do or what seems to be an ode to those who have died (and possibly war victims) in Holes in the Void (Come take your part in the haze; Days remembered in vain; Dreams forgotten, depraved; So many fallen away). No one theme permeates Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, and that contrasting aspect is a huge plus.

Overall Impression — 8
Musically the band doesn't stray too far away from its comfort zone. Yes, there are plenty of samples and interesting synth lines that pop in and out of the songs, but the core songwriting is still fairly expected from Mushroomhead. The rhythm section jumps out a bit more this time, as well as the harmonies and various layers on the tracks. In the end, fans of Mushroomhead won't be disappointed by the album, which emotionally can connect with listeners on many levels.

36 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vypor
    Skinny91 wrote: I used to be a big Mushroomhead fan but I haven't listened to them in ages, I'm surpised they are still kicking about to be honest. I didn't even find out about this album til a few days ago, but I'll probably get hold of it, I doubt it will be as good as XX or XIII but worth a listen I'm sure.
    The reason it wont ever be better, lyrically, is becuase J-Man isn't in the band anymore, and was replaced by Waylon.
    wmc128
    Inspiration,Slaughterhouse Road,Your Demise,and I'll Be Here are my favorites
    motorxtp199
    How bout you just go on youtube and look up songs from the album and find out whats good or not! But personally i think that the whole album is good!
    Chaz-6(sic)6
    I used to like Mushroomhead. But I think their best stuff were in XX and XIII. I still haven't listened to the whole album Savior Sorrow, but I think I should start giving them another chance, grab this album, and see if I get into them again. Though I miss J mann's screams.
    rockstaralex24
    I personally love Mushroomhead... but this album just doesnt do it for me... I hate "Come On", it sounds way too cliche. I just dont think they put their best on the album... and the vocals have gone way downhill. XX and XIII were definitely the best... I reeeeely miss J-Mann!!!!! (cough cough, Solitaire/Unraveling and Already Gone)
    Disturbdkornkid
    Slaytan666 wrote: Skinny91 wrote: I used to be a big Mushroomhead fan but I haven't listened to them in ages, I'm surpised they are still kicking about to be honest. I didn't even find out about this album til a few days ago, but I'll probably get hold of it, I doubt it will be as good as XX or XIII but worth a listen I'm sure. You took the words right out of my mouth.
    +1
    Hells.Mascot
    EpiExplorer wrote: Albums okay, not as well produced as the last few though.. guitar sounds very backroom.
    What does backroom mean? Is that when they have the amp in a separate room and they record with a mic in a different room? I've seen that done often, but I don't know if that's the term for it.
    Gary.Blizzard
    EpiExplorer wrote: I got like, 12 albums from this year that are much much better..
    Respectively, Could you share them?
    EpiExplorer
    Savage Animal wrote: DarthSevenfold wrote: Not their best record, but still the best new album this year. They keep doing what they do best and leave out all the bullshit. A solid listen. feel like you need to listen to more music bro
    I got like, 12 albums from this year that are much much better..
    Im_Broken
    i like Mushroom Head. Pig Benis is pure hilarity. and a fantastic bass player
    iduno871
    I love mushroomhead, and wish they had gotten more recognition to be able to pay big money for a good producer. The guitar is way too loud in the mix of the album and it's sounding pretty generic for MH. At least they have several old albums that I can still enjoy.
    im not mental
    Gary.Blizzard wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: I got like, 12 albums from this year that are much much better.. Respectively, Could you share them?
    ihsahn - after the sword - warp riders the dillinger escape plan - option paralysis deftones - diamond eyes borknagar - universal just a few off the top of my head.
    EpiExplorer
    Hells.Mascot wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Albums okay, not as well produced as the last few though.. guitar sounds very backroom. What does backroom mean? Is that when they have the amp in a separate room and they record with a mic in a different room? I've seen that done often, but I don't know if that's the term for it.
    Nonono, sounds like its been scooped and placed to the far right and left of the mix. It also sounds like they might've used the wrong microphone to record with..
    EpiExplorer
    im not mental wrote: Gary.Blizzard wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: I got like, 12 albums from this year that are much much better.. Respectively, Could you share them? ihsahn - after the sword - warp riders the dillinger escape plan - option paralysis deftones - diamond eyes borknagar - universal just a few off the top of my head.
    Blind Guardian - Edge of time (Power Metal) Dark Tranquility - We Are The Void (Melodic Death Metal) Demon Project - Faces of Yaman (Industrial Melodic Death Metal) Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini (Progressive Black Metal) Eluveitie - Everything remains as it never was (Folk Metal) Masterplan - Time To Be king (Power/Heavy metal) Melechesh - The Epigenisis (Oriental Black Metal) Mnemic - Sons of the System (Industrial Progressive Groove Metalcore.. seriously) Hell, even Ozzy's Scream Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy The Ocean Collective - Heliocentric (Post/Sludge/Progressive Metal) Sadist - Season in Silence (Progressive Death Metal, like Cynic and Atheist) Uhh, In Lingua Mortua - Salon De Refuses (Emperor Style Progressive/Symphonic Black Metal) Arkan - Hilal (Oriental Death Metal) Also all the ones that guy mentioned. 'Sall good.
    Human371
    Huge fan of the band, bought the album the day it came out...but I haven't really gotten into it yet. I'm trying but it hasn't quite grown on me yet. so definitely not their best album, or best of the year. but solid. I'll keep listening and see if my opinion changes.
    Savage Animal
    DarthSevenfold wrote: Not their best record, but still the best new album this year . They keep doing what they do best and leave out all the bullshit. A solid listen.
    feel like you need to listen to more music bro
    theflyingapple
    I'm new to mushroomhead and i can't be bothered to listen to the whole album. what songs are good off this one?
    Anchr
    They're still around? God I haven't listened to them in ages, they pretty much ignited the metal flame within me :O Should give this album a go I guess then
    BlisteringDDj
    None of their albums have been special or unique. Not too trhilled about this one. Decent though.
    khujo1023
    theflyingapple wrote: I'm new to mushroomhead and i can't be bothered to listen to the whole album. what songs are good off this one?
    What type of pretentious statement is this? Because you "can't be bothered", we are supposed to filter out songs according to your taste?
    rocker222
    theflyingapple wrote: I'm new to mushroomhead and i can't be bothered to listen to the whole album. what songs are good off this one?
    hmmmm i think you should find that out yourself. anyway another great album from a great band.
    The Eyes of OZ
    Why not start with what the reviewer said were the stronger songs on the album theflyingapple?
    DarthSevenfold
    Not their best record, but still the best new album this year. They keep doing what they do best and leave out all the bullshit. A solid listen.
    Skinny91
    I used to be a big Mushroomhead fan but I haven't listened to them in ages, I'm surpised they are still kicking about to be honest. I didn't even find out about this album til a few days ago, but I'll probably get hold of it, I doubt it will be as good as XX or XIII but worth a listen I'm sure.
    FirstMateJepeto
    Accurate review, the ablum is very good... Though I prefered the singing in Saviour Sorrow, I always thought the vocal tandem was at it's peak in this album...
    EpiExplorer
    In all honesty, they sort of should've stayed in the 90's.. but hey, didn't stop Slipknot or The Bezerker. Albums okay, not as well produced as the last few though.. guitar sounds very backroom.
    dogratdemise
    I happen to LOVE the hell out of the new album, listen to Inspiration, Burn the Bridge, I'll Be Here, Come On, and umm....Harvest The Garden
    Slaytan666
    Skinny91 wrote: I used to be a big Mushroomhead fan but I haven't listened to them in ages, I'm surpised they are still kicking about to be honest. I didn't even find out about this album til a few days ago, but I'll probably get hold of it, I doubt it will be as good as XX or XIII but worth a listen I'm sure.
    You took the words right out of my mouth.
    Snowman388
    [quote=khujo1023]What type of pretentious statement is this? Because you "can't be bothered", we are supposed to filter out songs according to your taste? [/quote] What the **** is your problem? He just asked which songs are the best from the album, it would've been easier for you to just recommend them to him rather than bitch about his unwillingness to buy the album, not knowing whether any of the songs are good or not.