THE DEMO CORNER
In the last few days I have required a personal kick in the backside to wake me from my musical stupor. A sure-shot of adrenalin was procured once I popped on the first full release from San Francisco’s Mudface. With some full, pregnant production that simply fills the room with lush tempestuousness, this album is a must-hear for the relatively new year.
Anti is one of those records that seemingly cover all facets of traditional-to-thrash just perfectly, offering a speeding train of volatility and strife for the weighty connoisseur. The title track barrels through and does some .22 caliber damage in the brain, while “Head Without Face” is nod to the old-school heavy-thrash with some overpowering vocals that scream out for recognition, yet deliver a smooth and almost Layne Staley-eqsue effort in the middle, and if you are bothered by that comparison you really shouldn’t be. Vocalist Chris Dinsmore levels the ground with some throaty abandon just short of reckless abuse, puncturing the thin air with a borderline howl that Tom Araya or a more range-worthy Max Cavalera might find all-consuming. I like the strenuous leap forward with the vocals, unafraid to challenge the underbelly of viciousness through the voice box.
There’s an almost groove-inspiring feel to some of the tracks, particularly “Puppets of Wrong” which has a definitive crossover element to it without completely giving over to the genre’s D.R.I. clones. With just the right touches this band and album taps into the narrowest of crevices to dig out some of the more passed over devices essential to making an album capable of destroying your preconceived notions at the get-go. The clean-tone-to-yelling is precisely how this style should be done, completely devoid of ridiculous back-and-forth usurpation of the preceding vocal in vain attempt to sound ‘edgy’ or empowering. What it really sounds is stupid when it’s done so wantonly it gets one seasick just hearing it! Dinsmore hits the core and pummels it beyond recognition and it never gets stale simply because he won’t let it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Anti, but happily I stultified my own inane imagination and took in a record worthy of praise and pushing. Guitarist Rich Pia lays down some severely punishing riffs, assigning a deafening element to tracks like “Warbeast”, which slams the senses with a stark repetition that in no way gets boring; rather, it’s a cadence-like call to metal arms that should be a rallying cry for all metalheads, young and old, to pick up the mantle and march. I’m probably designating a false sense of silliness to the song, but it’s really a strong track that dips its musical toe into the deep recesses of literally every metal nuance. The guitar solo in “Warbeast” is also pretty slick with its basic, yet fitting effort. Drummer Pete Bostaph is every bit worthy of the family lineage his name carries, pounding with precision and poise the ever-loving stuffing out of the poor kit. “I Am the Temple” is one of the tunes you can see starting random pits in the live setting, all the more reason to check out Mudface in and around the West Coast whenever you can. The band really espouses all that is battering and heavy with our chosen music without all the bells and whistles associated with bands that have to make up for a lack of talent or inspiration past the first few chords that become stale and lethargic after 60-seconds.
I truly wish these mallcore kiddies would pay attention to bands like this rather than that insipid corporate shilling they pass off as ‘heavy metal’; a band like Mudface brings it on any level, all the while forcing a cathartic look inside at the turmoil and anger within and allowing a release through their music that should be the rallying cry as opposed to these breakdown-reliant pretenders to the throne. This band is hardcore with the associative discrediting attached to that tag these days; for a truly consuming heaviness that checks and balances your attention span accordingly, you need to hear Mudface. I wish the tide would change and this would become what these kids would consider over Trivium, Black Dahlia Murder, Slipknot or Bullet for My Valentine; once those bands fire off their creative loads (which usually happens two songs into any of their respective debuts) the substance is gone and the potential fan has been poisoned by ineffectual music. Anti is the album that straddles the line with perfection.
If only the blind eyes would see it.
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2. Head Without Face
4. Puppets of Wrong
7. I Am the Temple
9. Ghosts of Desolation
10. To Wander Where
One Should Not
Total playing time: 43:19
Release Date: February 4, 2012
Label: Band Self Released
Mudface - Anti
April 10, 2012