Mushroomhead are an industrial metal band originating from Ohio, who have managed to rack up a total of eighteen band members in their two decades of existence. Although often lumped in with the alternative and nu metal scenes, the nine-piece have a wide range of influences from Faith No More (shown best by The New Cult King) to extreme and experimental metal.
Their first three albums (Mushroomhead in 1995, Superbuick in 1996 and M3 in 1999) were all released independently on their own record label, Filthy Hands. After gaining a substantial following through almost 8 years of meticulous hard work and constant touring, they were finally signed to Eclipse Records and a few months later they found themselves signed to major record label Universal. The sudden change of fortune came with the release of a compilation album, XX (released on both labels, but with the Universal edition being entirely re-recorded), featuring the best tracks from their first three albums. The album’s commercial success can be attributed to the incredible single Solitaire/Unraveling, which was their first to reach an international audience and bring them the attention they deserved.
In 2003 Mushroomhead kept their momentum going with the release of XIII, which improved upon their industrial metal formula, by learning how to utilise their experimental streak without compromising the track, a problem that bogged down some of XX’s latter cuts.
Savior Sorrow was released in 2006 and was the first record to not feature the distinctive growls and whispered vocals of J-Mann. However their dual vocal aspect was not lost, as replacement singer Waylon’s vocals were arguably stronger and more diverse than those of J-Mann. Savior Sorrow didn’t quite reach the same heights as the two before it, but many songs (like Erase The Doubt and Simple Survival) still proved why they were a staple for any industrial metal fan. However, 2010’s Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children was greatly disappointing as they seemed to have removed all of their experimental nature from their sound, resulting in a bland, metal-by-numbers album, which had nothing to suggest it was performed by the same band that created XIII.
Naturally when Mushroomhead announced plans to release their eighth studio album, The Righteous & the Butterfly, later this year, I was not filled with excitement. However, there may actually be a reason to look forward to the release. This is because it signals the return of vocalist J-Mann, whose departure is often looked upon as the reason for the demise in the band’s quality control. Whether the actual record can live up to the incredible pair of XX and XIII is another matter, but the premise of having an album with vocal duties split equally between three very different vocalist is a mouth-watering prospect and will be enough to make sure I check it out on release day.
- Bwomp from XX & Superbuick
- The New Cult King from XX & M3
- Sun Doesn’t Rise from XIII
- Almost Gone from XIII
- Embrace The Ending from Savior Sorrow
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