“Mainstream heavy music is pure dog shit right now. It’s either old dudes who are carrying on for lifestyle maintenance or kids trying to play 1,000 notes per second. Maybe we can step in and give the metalheads and weirdo mutant masses something good.”
So says Ben Koller, drummer for hardcore’s angriest men, Converge, and one half of the duo at the centre of Mutoid Man. His partner in crime is Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky on guitar and vocals, and combined they distil the heated aggression of the former with the rich melodicism and beauty of the latter, their new album Bleeder a clattering, prog-tinged beacon of searing sonic excellence. Think Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan ransacking Cave In and Converge’s catalogue and leaving with, as Stephen puts it, “sci-fi punk diatribes and the occasional love song.”
“Ben and I were riffing together in a Brooklyn rehearsal space the size of a closet under the name Narcoleptic Beagle,” says Stephen. “Originally it started as a means of extracting our favourite elements from our respective bands, then placing them into something new. Now things seem to be taking a life of their own, which is exciting.”
They released their debut EP Helium Head as a duo in 2013, but they’re now a fully fledged power trio thanks to the addition of ace bassist Nick Cageao. And given the flights of fancy the bandmembers indulge in, it’s little wonder that Bleeder – produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, its 10 adrenalised tracks clocking in at less than half an hour, Slayer-style – displays such thrilling inventiveness.
“Since Sargent House gave us a budget of $10 million for this record, we were able to travel to Padar Island in Indonesia to get Steve an experimental surgery where we attached a Komodo dragon tail to his ass,” says Ben. “He now can use his tail to hit his guitar pedals.”
“Documenting Mutoid Man as a fully formed band beyond our two-piece days felt important,” adds Stephen, bringing things back to reality. “I love Helium Head but it also feels good to have some miles under our belts with Nick.”
The next plan is to hit the road, and we should hopefully be experiencing their own brand of live madness in the UK in the not too distant future.
“We plan on going everywhere,” says Ben. “I personally would like to ultimately work towards a residency at the MGM Grand in Vegas, where we do metal versions of Tom Jones and Elvis songs, but we’ll see what happens.”
Vegas wouldn’t stand a chance.
Bleeder is out June 30 via Sargent House.