Sound — 7
Mushroomhead formed in the mid '90s and were discovered and booked to open for GWAR pretty quickly after that, which helped to propel their career fairly quickly. They brought a mix of industrial and metal music which was still fairly rare at that time and made the band very unusual among their contemporaries. Initially, the masks and disguises used by the band were meant to distance them from the members' other projects/bands, but became an integral part of the band's live shows over time. This will be the band's first album in a long while without Gray and Pig Benis, who were replaced by Church and Dr. F, respectively. This will be the band's eighth studio album, and it contains 14 tracks with an approximate runtime of right around 51 minutes. The song "Qwerty" was released as the first single from the album in mid-April.
The album opens up with the track "Our Apologies," which pretty much brings a straightforward heavy song, but from there the album mixes it up a little bit. "How Many Times" has passages that are reminiscent of Chevelle or Deftones, it has passages with stutter effects and has some straight up heaviness, as well. Then, you have tracks like the single, "Qwerty," which seem to be very heavily influenced by Faith No More. Think about Faith No More's "Angel Dust" era. "Portraits of the People" and "Childlike" are two more songs that seem to have some strong Faith No More influences going on in them. The band mixes up things as the album goes on, notably on tracks like "We Are еhe Truth" (which has Jackie Laponza from Unsaid Fate as a guest), which again seems a little bit like something Faith No More would have done. "Son of Seven" is heavy from beginning to end and doesn't really give much in the way of surprises, which at that point in the album is a surprise in and of itself. "For Your Pleasure" opens up with some heavy funk influences (because I'm getting tired of mentioning Faith No More in this review, but seriously though they're blatantly trying to be like Faith No More on some of these tracks) and kind of flirts with heaviness on the track, but then throws in some piano instead. "Worlds Collide" is another heavy song but is one of the more boring tracks except for some interesting stuff going on with the vocals. "Graveyard Du Jour" really seems more like a better marriage of Mushroomhead with their fascination with Faith No More - it still sounds like Mushroomhead, but the influences are still clearly there. "Out of My Mind" is another track that is all about the "heaviness" - nothing wrong with that! Then the album closes out with an Adele cover - yep, a cover of "Rumor Has It." It isn't a bad cover, but it doesn't grab me as hard as some heavy covers of pop songs do. I felt like this album was an experience to listen to, so that is a good thing, right?
Lyrics — 7
This album has some moments that remind me strongly of Mike Patton, in both vocal melody and lyrical content. To me, it is a welcome change as it just adds another layer to Mushroomhead but maybe they could use a little practice implementing these changes more smoothly. This is the first album with Jeffrey Nothing, J Mann, and Waylon Reavis all providing vocals. The payout of having these three vocalists together is a mixture of clean, dirty and rapped vocals running throughout the album. There isn't much to complain about regarding the vocal performances on the album. The lyrics may not be 100% correct, but here are some from the single "Qwerty": "One shot heard around the world/ gonna point it to the heavens/ gonna show the world that it was/ once said that whatever the cost we'll never surrender/ we will abandon the laws/ when the rich wage war and the patriotic whores dig their own graves for their own stake/ another casualty, another travesty." I like that the band is actually trying to say something, even though I can't make out every single thing that is said.
Overall Impression — 7
Mushroomhead's strength is that you can listen to this album and it feels like you are listening to a few different bands being shuffled, sometimes within the same track. Before I got a chance to listen to this album I had read a lot of negative stuff about this album, and I have to say that I strongly disagree with the negative opinions. If you listen to Mushroomhead like they're a secondary Slipknot, then no, you aren't going to like all of this album. But there is a lot of variety in the sound of this album and it is creatively adventurous in a lot of ways. My favorite songs on this album are probably "Graveyard Du Jour," "Qwerty," "Portraits of the People" and "Out of My Mind." Of course, one thing that can get old is the blatant attempt at copying one of their influences to the point where they almost don't sound like themselves anymore. Well, for some odd reason I want to go listen to some Faith No More now, so I'll wrap this up.