As regular visitors for this page will know, the best percentage of the team enjoy the songs of Ginger Wildheart; the man has made some of our favourite albums, some bat-shit crazy work as well and some that is so offensive that he even denies writing it (but we all know that he was Howling Willie Cunt). Out of all his projects though outside of the Wildhearts, Mutation is the one that I have found to be the most rewarding in a lot of ways. Both 'The Frankenstein Effect' (our review linked here) and 'Error 500' (our review linked here) were albums that had an immediate impact and were just all out noisy feedback and contained many guest spots. This time we still have many guest spots from the likes of Devin Townsend, Jon Poole, Phil Campbell and Givvi Flynn, with the album itself being co-wrote with Scott Lee Andrews. It has been a long time coming and I had this post ready from 2015 when it was first rumoured to be started, so has the wait been worth it?
01 - "."
A brief spoken word sample all about depression, something which can happen to everyone. Brief and it merges with the first song proper - 'Authenticity'.
02 - Authenticity
It is like being hit by a car from the side without warning, the impact is immediate and powerful. It has an amazing riff, more guitar channels running through the song than your average band, distorted bass, lyrics, drums, noise and a mixture of noise somewhere between Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Strapping Young Lad and 'Endless Nameless' era Wildhearts. It is attention grabbing and exactly what this album required from the opening moments, an impact moment.
03 - Toxins
Without given anyone time to take a rest, 'Toxins' is straight out of the blocks with a riff that for the most part has a top-quality drone aspect to it as they let it run wild over the listeners until they drop the odd chorus bomb in close proximity of the listener. The verses are as very powerful and lay bare the issues which Mr Wildheart has recently (and for a much longer period) been facing. But most importantly, it does not let you off the hook as it drags you along with every sick beat.
04 - Devolution
This riff at time sounds like an anxiety attack in flux, the riff climbs up and down like a rapid heartbeat and then it drops into some falling riff & synth moment that could be about a kingdom falling to the ground. The solo in towards the end is straight out bonkers, it is moving in so many different directions and has multiple facets of noise. It might not be as demanding as 'Authenticity' or 'Toxins' in terms of sudden impact, but it is still a fascinating number none the less.
05 - Irritant
This was the first song to be released from the album, with the video being unleased on 06th January 2017. Starting with the catchy chorus line "Fuck off you cunt, you are an irritant" will leave people in no doubt about what the patience’s level of the man and song at that given moment, it is direct and to the point with no shade of grey to the message. It has a wonderful Geordie level of anger to the lyrical delivery which anyone outside of the Tyneside area will recognise as fully pissed off, from being from the region, I can confirm that the rag has well and truly been lost on this one. But it is not all about the lyrics which hit so any bases, it is also about music and that is a perfect backdrop to the noise and smash 'n' grab metal from beginning to end - when you have the song on loop and the chorus links up again, it sounds like a mantra for life, just brilliant.
06 - Skint
The rising and dropping nature of the opening riff sounds like a million bees moving around as the lyrics deal with the dread and hopelessness that can come with financial issues. The main riff is not as intense as that opening piece of music here, giving you a little small break from the ultra-intense riffs, but for the most part the sound is still as intense as anything you have heard on the record. If anything, the lyrics are given more attention here, even with a level of distortion to the sound that has been placed over the number. The demons are in full flight here and you are not allowed to rest for one iota, another nightmare vision which is fascinating.
07 - Hate
Out of all the songs, 'Hate' is quite possibly the nearest we get to a Wildheart number on here, this is something that I am gonna have to explain this one. It is the song which would be a number that would fit in a Wildhearts set with ease if all the distortion was removed, it is also (for want of a better phrase) the gentlest song on the album and it is a rough as they come as well. The riffs are relentless and remind me once again of the 'Endless Nameless' era of the Wildhearts, those riffs that sound like air has been made solid and could be used to start a riot. The lyrics about not knowing hate, not understanding the inner working of the man, these are returning themes from this album and it fits so well into 'Dark Black' - it is another great song on this record.
08 - Victim
'Victim' on the other hand, is a contradiction for me. The first verse has a melodic moment buried in them under all those effects, the second sounds like it is breaking down at the start and heads back into that melodic drone, the hooks go between explosive noise and internal damnation of one’s self. It is quite possibly the darkest moment on the album for me lyrically, it is not easy for a lot of reasons, but it is one of the best songs on the album as well - that is quite an achievement for this record.
This song keeps changing like light shining through a diamond as hitting all those facets, it does not stay still for a moment and just when you are starting to get into a riff, it moves onto the next one. It is a trip through a mania moment in my mind, so many highs, lows, screams and breakdowns that it feels as if the body could not take it any longer than the length of the song. However, it is a number that could be stretched out in the live setting and would still sound glorious.
10 - Deterioration
Oh my giddy aunt, this song is so fucking relentless. It does not give two fucks about the listeners’ body, hearing or soul as it starts the breakdown early, with a frantic riff that only gains speed. The further into the song you head and the level of intensity just gets jacked up higher and higher, the screams start to increase and it feels like the fall down the rabbit hole is starting to reach terminal velocity. By the time the biggest riff is distorting into a thousand different pieces with the level of guitar distortion being but through the speakers, the moment the song stops feels like a relief of sorts - hence why I have been listening to it more than once, just to reach that moment of dropping off the edge.
You are not given any level of comfort here as the vitriol is released and you know what, that is exactly what I wanted from this album. The quality level is stupidly brilliant on here, it is short, sharp and to the point in terms of delivery and it does not outstay its welcome as you will quite easily just press repeat and listen to the sonic attack over and over again. It is as far from The Wildhearts (for the most part), Silver Ginger 5 and Hey Hello! as you can get without changing styles. You are not going to please everyone with an album such as this, but this is not an album for everyone either - it is only for people who enjoy music that is not easy to listen to, for people who find sonic attacks to be fascinating and cathartic, for people who have been in those dark moments where everything is not ok, it is for people who have been damaged and sometimes need something else to get them through. I think this is a great album which is as subtle as an explosion and with as much impact as well - get it now. Also, for my money it is still so much better than Hey Hello! (still not understanding that one).
8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track - Skint
The only place you can purchase or listen to the album at the moment is on the Round Records Pledge Music page, which I have linked here. You can also purchase various other Ginger Wildheart related noise as well.
The best place to keep up to date with Ginger Wildheart information is the 'All Things Ginger Wildheart' page on Facebook; warning - it is a closed group and you will have to be permitted to join, but it is a good group as well.
Any links for streaming links (if Mutation III 'Dark Black' is added to Spotify, Deezer, etc) will be added if or when it is made available through those channels; but do yourself a favour and get the album through the pledge.