Mushroomhead – A Wonderful Life (2020)

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A Wonderful Life ( currently not with so much chaos going on with the damn COVID, rebellion ect, but let’s focus on the MUSIC) is the new album by masked INDUSTRIAL veterans Mushroomhead.

6 years since their impressive The Righteous and The Butterfly, the ‘Shroom are back – new members and masks, and of course NEW SONGS! Having released Seen It All and The Heresy, two good tracks to hold fans over and get us ready for more, A Wonderful Life starts with A REQUIEM FOR TOMORROW, opening with a choir chant, more involved than Slipknot’s unsainted opening ( YES, I’ll go there) then, oh, oh, just a lovely sludge rock riff, then the groove and samples/synth kick in with Jmann and Steve Raukhaust giving us the vocals.  Both do a beautiful job. You’ll be breaking your neck with this Groove number. Some lovely piano to mix up measures, the bass ( by Dr F) is rich and Skinny’s drumming, always a pleasure.

MADNESS WITHIN is next, starting with a congo drum beat, then a following rhythmic riff ( by Tommy) with Jmann’s awesome rapping, then another straight forward groove section. Broken riffs a plenty ( a certain time using play a little, stop, play some more, back to main riff) Synth by Stitch and Jackie Laponza sneaking in. Ok, we miss Jeffery Nothing and Waylon, plus many others (Schmots, Bronson, Pig Benis), but, this is a new step forward, the music is FUCKING BRILLIANT. So far, this album kicks Slipknot’s W.A.N.Y.K to the curb.

Mushroomhead owns the EXPERIMENTALITY, and MADNESS WITHIN captures many emotions. Seen it all, the main single with that video, you know it, it’s a good song, and placed well. The Hersey follows, so a slow rocker then a ballad, are well put, then WHAT A SHAME, keeps the slow burn going, and it’s similar to Qwerty from The righteous, has a little carnival vibe. It’s no shame history repeats, WHAT A SHAME is quite beautiful. The last minute is SAVAGE, with a heavy hook, THE SAMPLES AND SYNTH, Jackie is back sharing her lovely voice, SKINNY not letting up, his EGO may be big, but he is a fucking machine behind that kit. STITCH with a piano coda to end it.

PULSE is next, a thunderous cymbal blast, piano and Jackie leading the pack, with heavy chords and flams (hitting two drums at same time ya’ll) of drums, then into a similar sound of Solitaire Unravelling. So a few hints of classic and recent stuff. Lots of piano on this one, Pulse mellows out and is very moving, the choir is back! CARRY ON, ok, synth, piano, rapping, it’s a slow start then picks up, just amazing singing by Steve.  Jackie is back, adding more dimension, she only did 1 song on Righteous, but is full time now. So, this can pass as a power ballad, it just works as a good rocker also.

THE TIME HAS COME, ok, piano start, heavy chord rings out and Steve is doing spoken word, will this build up to a METAL masterpiece? After a few drum fills, we get dramatic, no fast pace ( COME ON ( good song by the Shroom) give us more metal) it isn’t that songs like this are boring, they’re haunting, and have good placed heavy sections, but by this time, you want more IN YOUR FACE tracks, but we get a twist and the tempo changes, so a build up to the Metal, and it pays off, so yes, THE TIME HAS COME ( good track, worth the build up) delivers, WITH SOME THRASH.

11TH HOUR, another piano opener, *sigh*, but Stitch’s work is awesome, we get the guitars in and subtle bass with a simple beat by Skinny. Ok, roll the drums, pine the keys, and, SHOCK US with some heavy hooks. Ok, so the formula is set, it’s what Mushroomhead do best, you can see the phones or lighters here, the changes blend well, from a soft number to hard rocker. MRH have made the album all their own here, but there needs to be that ONE big heavy or a couple REALLY ANGRY tracks to level up matters.

I AM THE ONE, ok, this one is freaky, child whispers, haunting melodies, then a little happy part, THEN we break into the rocking rave! Not a fast one, but right in the nerve centre, it has pace, a good head-banging experience right here. This is a track you wanted, it’s funny how it holds up as a heavy number, then gets pretty. The chorus ‘’I am the one you love to hate, I am the one you love to hate’’ THIS IS FOR THE PIT, get in and mosh. THE FLOOD, you guessed it, another piano/slow open, you can yawn if sick of these tracks.

WHERE THE END BEGINS, again, a piano ( this is a conspiracy!) it’s haunting, Jackie is back, so, anything can happen here. Well, there’s marching snare and lots of piano/keys, guitar at the end, so, yeah, ballad with a little guitar, some bass. If that doesn’t sound very detailed, the song isn’t that interesting as we’ve had a few like it before. CONFUTATIS, we have the choir opening this up, GOOD, SOMETHING DIFFERENT even though it’s the same as the opener, but a welcome change after the abundance of piano started tracks. Ok, honestly I had to start skipping ahead, this is all choir, so VERY UNIQUE to have a fully fledged choir track. TO THE FRONT ( bonus track 1) well, it’s back to the piano… the bass and drums kick in…. no vocals, just a pretty good instrumental, it is, it really is pretty good. SOUND OF DESTRUCTION ( bonus track 2) GUITAR, WE HAVE GUITAR TO START A SONG! Beautiful, awesome. Vocals, a slow burn, PICK UP THE PACE, PICK UP THE PACE… Oh, for the love of rock and roll, we get a freaking cool riff, PACE, the metal is here! Yep, SOUND OF DESTRUCTION, may not be fully dominant, but what a relief and another good song.

FUCKING good. ANOTHER GHOST ( bonus track 3). ANOTHER PIANO OPENING, oh joy, la la la, but, we get a quirky hook into awesome territory, so, Mushroomhead is still playing head games and we get an evening out, closure and by gone, all that was worth it, so when you wish for something, ACCEPT IT, even if it isn’t all you wanted, with this album, you get what was needed, another good song! LACRIMOSA ( last bonus track) the choir is back for the last time, and it’s all them. Ok, a few stand out METAL offerings, some quirky hard rockers, couple ballads, some with POWER and two choir pieces and an instrumental. Many emotions here, and a good album.

8/10

-Scary

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