MUSHROOMHEAD

"The Righteous & the Butterfly" (Megaforce; 2014)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I was thrilled when I got the news that Mushroomhead was releasing a new studio album. As you can see from the reviews below, we're huge Mushroomhead fans here at RoughEdge.com, and the thought of the first new music from the band in four years got our blood going. The only concern was that the band has gone through a number of line-up changes over the years -- some members leaving, others returning -- and how those changes were going to affect the band's singular style.

The good news is that, despite those line-up changes, "The Righteous & the Butterfly" doesn't disappoint. Loaded with chunky, raw-to-the-bone guitar, captivating songwriting and vocals that run the gamut of emotions (thanks to the band's recent three vocalist line-up), this CD sounds like Mushroomhead from start to finish.   And you've got to love a metal band with the balls to cover Adele's "Rumor Has It," which is barely recognizable here; Mushroomhead truly makes it their own.

"The Righteous & the Butterfly" is harder and more extreme than the band's previous CD, "Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children," which, for my money was among their best work. The new CD is harder and heavier but doesn't have quite the avant-garde edge of that CD; the music isn't quite as fresh and stylish. But it's stylish enough, maintaining the unique Mushroomhead sound and delivering another impressive album to the band's already amazing discography.

 For more information check out www.mushroomhead-music.com.  

"Volume 2" DVD (Filthy Hands / Megaforce; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Mushroomhead fans will enjoy "Volume 2" as much as they did "Volume 1." I know this because "Volume 2" is basically more of the same from the band, and that's not a bad thing.

Starting off with a creepy, disturbing video for "1200" (which features special effects that "Dawn of the Dead" maestro Tom Savini would be proud of), "Volume 2" is a two hour collection of videos, live footage and behind-the-scenes antics that once again takes the Mushroomhead fan on tour with the band. The music segments are what'd you expect them to be: Again, Mushroomhead is as much a visual band as an aural one, and the images contained in the music videos are mesmerizing, bizarre and often bloody. Sometimes, they're just downright hysterically funny, as in when a group of "vikings" in cardboard armor fight a sword battle on the side of a busy highway.

The live footage is as you'd expect it to be. Mushroomhead is at the top of their game when they're performing live and this DVD is more proof of that. The behind-the-scenes footage is pretty much just a collection of the band goofing off between gigs but it's entertaining and funny stuff.

Included in the extras is a fascinating commentary for the "1200" video, plus more live footage and "deleted scenes."

If you're a Mushroomhead fan and you enjoyed the "Volume 1" DVD, then you'll want to include "Volume 2" in your collection as well.

 For more information check out www.mushroomhead-music.com.  

"Volume 1" DVD (Filthy Hands; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Volume 1" is a DVD produced by Mushroomhead themselves. Although that may sound like a cheap, down'n'dirty way to produce a DVD, you'd never guess that from the quality of the content here.

"Volume 1" contains over an hour of music videos and backstage footage from the "XX" and "XIII" world tours. This stuff is a blast to watch. First of all, Mushroomhead's music is as much a visual art form as it is an audio art from and the band makes full use of their onstage personas in the videos contained herein. The band themselves directed most of the videos here and, with sharp editing and clever use of special effects, the results are eerie, edgy and powerful. Also included are the MTV and Fuse videos for "Sun Doesn't Rise" and "Solitarie/Unraveling."

The fun stuff is the between song video clips of the band on the road and backstage. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be on a tour bus with a band like Mushroomhead, you'll get a pretty good idea of it here. The various pranks, drunken birthday parties and much more are captured here in all their unedited glory. It's a side of the band, especially this band, that you don't normally see.

Fans of Mushroomhead will thoroughly enjoy watching "Volume 1" over and over again. 

For more information check out www.mushroomhead-music.com.  

"XIII" (Filthy Hands / Universal; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When I first heard "Sun Doesn't Rise," the first single from the new Mushroomhead album, I was a little concerned. It was obviously Mushroomhead, but the song seemed far more "mainstream" than anything from the band's previous release, "XX." And, as you can see from my review of that CD below, the originality factor was something that really drew me to Mushroomhead in the first place. Don't get me wrong - I liked "Sun Doesn't Rise" just fine - but I was a little taken aback by its relative "tameness."

After listening to "XIII" in its entirety, however, my fears that Mushroomhead had gone mainstream were assuaged. "XIII" isn't anywhere near as extreme or even as original as "XX," but it succeeds because it stands on its own. It's not a follow-up to "XX," but is instead an entirely new step for the band - with its own sound, its own successes and its own failures.

As I listened to "XIII," it came to me that the previous CD was so fresh, so unique and so powerful that it set an impossibly high bar for the band's next release. Yet "XIII" comes close. By avoiding simply recording and releasing a carbon copy of their first CD, Mushroomhead chose another, not-so-distant, direction which is a refreshing surprise of its own.

"XIII's" highlights are "Kill Tomorrow," with its wall-of-sound guitars and raging vocals, "One More Day," which blends eerie choruses and angst-ridden lyrics with horror movie type keyboards, and the apocalyptic-sounding "Destroy the World Around Me" with its throbbing guitar rhythm and juxtaposed vocals.

Track #13, entitled (strangely enough) "Thirteen," is like a musical interpretation of a David Lynch film (notably "Eraserhead"), clocking in at just over 12 minutes. Recorded to sound like an old vinyl record and featuring bagpipes and a repetitious infant's laugh before launching into a full-blown rock'n'roll song, "Thirteen" will simply freak you out, especially if you listen to the first five minutes or so in the middle of the night in pitch darkness. "Thirteen" is actually more like three songs rolled into one and I tend to believe "XIII" would have been better off separating the included songs rather than meshing them together. Of course, then the CD would have had to be entitled "XVI" or something, right?

All in all, Mushroomhead has returned with another outstandingly entertaining record. Just go in expecting something a little less extreme and a little more familiar than the band's last outing.

For more information check out www.mushroomhead-music.com.  

"XX" (Filthy Hands / Universal; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This is the major label re-release of the same recording listed below with the following changes:

1) The entire CD has been re-mixed by the legendary Toby Wright (KORN/ALICE IN CHAINS). Did "XX" really need re-mixing? Maybe. Maybe not. The bottom line is that the CD still sounds great.

2) There are three new tracks on this release: "Fear Held Dear" and "Too Much Nothing," both of which are Mushroomhead originals that fit on "XX" as though they were always there. Also new is a cover of Pink Floyd's "Empty Spaces," from "The Wall," given a new extremism here that gives the tune even greater depth.

The most important thing about this major label re-release is this: Now it's easier than ever to find this CD and, believe me, you want to find it. Mushroomhead are one awesome band.

MUSHROOMHEAD is: Pig Benis - bass; J.J. Righteous - guitar; Skinny - drums; J. Mann - vocals; Gravy - guitar; Shmotz - keyboards; Bronson - samples; Jeffrey Nothing - vocals.  

For more information check out www.mushroomhead-music.com.  

"XX" (Filthy Hands / Eclipse; 2001)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I know R. Scott Bolton has already reviewed this CD (twice, no less!) but I feel I need to put in my comments about this totally fresh and innovative band.  

Mushroomhead's approach to metal music is unlike anything I have ever experienced before; loud, dark (and loud dark!), twisted and coming at you from all points at one time. I could barely catch my breath the first time I listened to this CD. The music explodes from the speakers with such a strong and fresh perspective that I it was like a full, cardiovascular workout just listening to this thing.

This eight man band (yes, count 'em, eight!), with their masks and costumes are no Slipknot rip-off: Mushroomhead's been on the scene since the mid-90s (just try to win one of their earlier, self-produced CDs on eBay!). They write, play and represent such total raw power that the listener has no choice but to spin this disc time after time. 

Mushroomhead is the real thing. I hope like hell they keep it up for a long time coming. It doesn't get any better!

MUSHROOMHEAD is: Pig Benis - bass; J.J. Righteous - guitar; Skinny - drums; J. Mann - vocals; Gravy - guitar; Shmotz - keyboards; Bronson - samples; Jeffrey Nothing - vocals.  

"XX" (Filthy Hands / Eclipse; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

One quick glance at the cover of Mushroomhead's "XX" and you're gonna think, "Oh, great. More Slipknot rip-offs." The photograph on the cover shows the band in various hoods and masks, all of which bear more than a passing resemblance to Slipknot. But don't write this band off just yet.

Pop "XX" into your player and you're gonna get yourself a whole 'nother level of extreme rock'n'roll. Yeah, Mushroomhead play the raging speedfests like Slipknot does (and just as well if not better than Slipknot does); those white hot, high-speed, nearly out-of-control racers like the title song "Before I Die," but it isn't until the second track that things get really interesting. Here, Mushroomhead blend the extreme sound of Slipknot-type bands with the nu-metal sound of Limp Bizkit with electronica and scores from films the likes of "Mortal Kombat" and "The Matrix." And you gotta hear track 4, "These Filthy Hands," which balances its chunky guitars with piano notes that cut through your mind like ice knives.

It's a stunning, throat-grabbing sound that - to my knowledge - has never been done this well or this originally before. And the best thing is that every song has its own pace, its own atmosphere and its own style. You're aware that you're listening to the music of one band, but each song has a life and a character of its own.

I look at it like this: Slipknot and others of their extreme ilk tend to play the musical equivalent of chaos. Mushroomhead play extreme music that is still recognizable for its influences and still laudable for its outright originality. 

If they get the airplay they deserve, Mushroomhead has what it takes to be the next big thing.

MUSHROOMHEAD is: Pig Benis - bass; J.J. Righteous - guitar; Skinny - drums; J. Mann - vocals; Gravy - guitar; Shmotz - keyboards; Bronson - samples; Jeffrey Nothing - vocals.  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:44 -0500 .