“It’s that drummer from Converge and the dude from Cave In” Aaron told me when he first heard about the band. “You’d really dig them.””i bet, it already sounds like it” I replied. My exposure to Cave In has been brief, a few albums here and there but never to the point of obsession for a period of time.
Since being on the scene only 2 years now Mutoid Man has accomplished a lot. In 2013 they released their amazing 15 min release Helium Head. The first song Gnarcissist is a ripper. As an introduction to a band it’s amazing. It’s tight, it’s technical, it’s fast, it’s fun, it works. It’s probably my favorite song on the release but that only speaks to how good that track is.
After ‘wearing out’ Helium Head I was nervous they would pull a battles on me. After a few questionable days, I cracked and finally listened to their newest release, Bleeder. It’s great. They took what they did for Helium Head and expanded it over 30 minutes. The songs continue in the same intensity as Helium, but continue exploring ability of Ben to come up with an a complimentary beat to emphasize the rhythm of the guitar.
The songs are catchy and fun, but they really take a few listens to truly capture the grooves and rhythms the band gets involved in. I’d be impressed not knowing this, but it’s valid enough to mention drummer Ben Koller and Stephen Brodsky have jammed together in the former’s current powerhouse group Converge and in Stephen’s famed project Cave In. The music shows that these grooves could be difficult for some musicians to pull off together but not these guys.
And the show made it that much more enjoyable to watch such potentially complicated songs be played with such ease and humor, while all wearing black shirts. They started with Bridgeburner and the crowd was into it. The band was loving the show. Stephen was all smiles, wide eyed, making a connection with the crowd and making a decision to connect with the band during the set. There were multiple moments at which I laughed out loud (loled) at his jokes.
They played the first 4 songs from Bridgeburner before making their way over to the Helium Head material, starting with the 2nd track and making their way through the rest of the release.
Stephen had a way of sing-introducing the songs before they played them. He’d typically use some mid song banter/story to lead into the song title lyrics. Sometimes he’d sing it, other times he’d yell it, to match the aggression at the beginning of the song.
The band seemed to have a lot of inside jokes they were playing on, as the members would continually flip the other members off and vice versa. Ben continuously would slam his drum stick to his floor tom in an attempt to make the stick fly to the balcony in the Reggie’s Rock room above the stage.
Drumming fans and fans of thrashy sludgey heavier punk music would enjoy the releases and the live shows. Watching Ben Koller drum is always a bad ass thing for any fan of drum to watch. He enjoys playing and has some incredible speed which he puts to comprehensive beats for all the music he plays. Although it was somewhat shocking because of how heavy the band is but the enjoyment they all shared together also shows to the longevity of being able to have a project that you can do with your friends but still put out some really great music.
Shortly after they left the stage the gear was still there and the lights were somewhat at ‘stage level’. Ben walked on stage and said into the microphone “That’s all the shit we know. we don’t know any other songs. Have a good night”. (I’m misquoting my quotes, i don’t remember exactly what was said).