Album review: Mutoid Man – Mutants

Converge, Cave In and High On Fire men get back to brilliant business on Mutoid Man’s long-awaited third album.

Album review: Mutoid Man – Mutants
Olly Thomas

It’s over six years since Cave In founder Stephen Brodsky and Converge drummer Ben Koller last released an album as Mutoid Man, but the pair have hardly been idle. Between them, they’ve played on around 10 albums since 2017, while MM have worked as the house band for metal chat show Two Minutes To Late Night, regularly contributing to their lockdown cover version series. This return to active duty, with High On Fire bassist Jeff Matz replacing the departed Nick Cageao, hits that sweet spot between the serious business of their principal bands and the ridiculously enjoyable nature of their internet-based side hustle.

Mutants kicks off with the thunderous Call Of The Void, its spiralling lead guitar meshing with an effortlessly anthemic chorus. The unique energy generated by the meeting of prog dexterity and hook-driven rock thrills also fuels Frozen Hearts, while Broken Glass Ceiling sounds a little like QOTSA if Josh Homme had listened to more ’80s metal.

Stephen is clearly having a blast, his spiky shredding a joy on tunes like the punky Graveyard Love and Siphon’s hell-for-leather chaos. Extra drama is provided by moodier tunes like Siren Song, which could almost have come from the songbook of stoner legend Wino, and the slow-build momentum of soaring closer Setting Sun.

Speaking to K! about Mutants recently, Stephen declared that “every thought is where it belongs on this record”. He was speaking specifically about the record’s sharp lyrics, but the sentiment works perfectly to describe every aspect of this playful but steamrolling selection of heavy excellence. These men are rightly regarded as legends for their virtuoso musical chops, but technical excellence is no guarantee of the sort of unabashed fun that characterises this most welcome comeback.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Mastodon, Baroness, Torche

Mutants is released on July 28 via Sargent House

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