Mutation 3: Dark Black by MutationRelease date: June 30, 2017
Label: Undergroove Records
“It is the grey cloud that comes over you and obscures all positive thought”
So begins the 10 track, 27-minute monster that is the third Mutation album. Originally released through a PledgeMusic campaign earlier in the year, it has now received a wider release through Undergroove Records. The original double album a few years back saw Ginger Wildheart depart from his usual arsenal of hooks and melody, and instead dived into a decidedly darker side of his musical influences. That first release featured the guests from Shane Embury (Napalm Death) to Mark E Smith (The Fall) and a host more. This album follows a similar path with Ginger and his sidekick for this project, Exit International’s Scott Lee Andrews working with the likes of Devin Townsend, Paul Catten (Medulla Nocte, Barrabus) and Phil Campbell (Motörhead) amongst others.
The previous release was a huge collection of some of the most messed up music (in the best way) from the prolific frontman, and this one doesn’t hold back too much either, as the short running time suggests. After the brief intro mentioned above, ‘Authenticity’ gives you a massive clue as to the albums intents, with its layered tracks of noise adding more and more intensity to an already hefty production. It is similar to the early Strapping Young Lad releases, in that it throws everything at you right from the off, with little or no thought for the listener’s brain having to take in all of this commotion. Other tracks like ‘Toxins’ and ‘Victim’ provide an equally uncomfortable listen, which is exactly what this album sets out to be. Think early SYL, with lashings of black metal, grind and some experimental noise, and you are heading in the right direction.
It’s not all nihilism and noise though (actually it is, but there are a couple of tracks that aren’t as full on as others). Lead single ‘Irritant’ is one of the more accessible tracks on the album…well, as accessible as a track with a repeated line of “fuck off you cunt, you are an irritant” can be. It’s reminiscent of the Wildhearts at their most punk and angry, such as on tracks like ‘Shut Your Fucking Mouth…And Use Your Fucking Brain’ and ‘The Sweetest Song’ only with all of the distortion and unease from Endless Nameless thrown in for good measure. ‘Hate’ is also more straightforward for the first couple of minutes before descending into the chaos that envelops the rest of the album.
If you like your music challenging, angry and nihilistic, then you should enjoy this record. There is a very Devin Townsend feel about it (no real surprise as he guests on the album), but that wall of sound production style and song structure is very much evident. A chaotic album from start to finish and one that I played again almost as soon as it finished to make sure I had taken it all in. To have created three albums with such different line ups, but to keep that sound together for the whole records is credit to the artists involved. I look forward to hearing what Mutation 4 will offer, and who will be involved. Definitely not background music, unless you host some bizarre parties.