Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer
Mr. Bungle; a band with an intensely dedicated, cult-like following of fans. For me, there is no band quite like the legendary, Mr. Bungle. I still remember feeling a mixture of shock, awe and complete admiration for them the first time I tuned in, many moons ago. They delivered something left of center, something I didn’t know I needed, until they gifted it to me and to the world.
Forming in 1985, the band has come a long way from their high school death metal days, having independently released music before signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1990, releasing three epic albums that are still on the regular playlist of any true Bungle fan, self titled – ‘Mr Bungle, ‘Disco Volante’ and ‘California’. Their music, then, was a hearty mixed bag of rock, jazz, blues, lounge, surf rock, and more. With songs like Pink Cigarette forever ingrained in my head and heart.
2020 really has been a year of unexpected things and something perhaps unexpected, though entirely welcomed was the announcement of a new album from the experimental rock/ avant garde metal band. Bungle fans have been all in a tizzy and drooling in anticipation for their new album – ‘The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo’ – released today, October 30, 2020 via Ipecac Recordings/Liberator Music – their first album in 21 years, since their 1999 release, ‘California’. You could say it’s been a while between drinks! The album sees Bungle return with a re-recording of their 1986 demo, ‘The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny’ – Re released and tweaked into their 2020 version.
Current line up:
Mike Patton – vocals
Trey Spruance – guitar
Trevor Dunn – bass
Scott Ian (Anthrax, S.O.D.) – guitar
Dave Lombardo (Dead Cross, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies) – drums
So, the big question; is the album everything we’ve been waiting and hoping for? The simple answer is – abso-fucking-lutely yes; it is. Is it what you were expecting? Well, probably not, but that’s what Bungle do, right? Give you something you may not have expected, but something that’s impossible not to love. It’s all part of the fun.
The first taste from the album came in the form of their single, Raping Your Mind (track three on the album), released on August 14 along with a lyric video. With its fast paced, thrash metal like guitars and Patton’s opening “bleargghh” – you just know this is going to be an earful of Bungle goodness and if it’s a sign of what’s to come from the album? Sock it to me! ‘The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo’ is Bungle reimagined, it’s Bungle for 2020, it’s Bungle returning back to their much earlier days ; it’s heavy, it’s metal and it’s seriously good.
The opening track, Grizzley Adams is quirky, twanging guitars, jewellery box, movie soundtrack sounding instrumental. It builds to a crescendo where it suddenly becomes much heavier, before buzzing out and stopping suddenly. And it’s straight into Anarchy Up Your Anus – with a spoken word and what sounds like you’re entering a haunted house of sorts. At 2:15, it’s the shortest track on the album. It’s almost as though the first two songs are the intro into the depths of the album. Perhaps giving listeners time to strap themselves in for the ride. Patton’s vocals give me a thrash vibe mixed with a punk vibe on this track. I love it.
Track four, Hypocrites / Habla Espanol O Muere kicks off reminding me of a Suicidal Tendencies sounding track before rolling into some La Cucaracha before rolling back around again to thrash riffs and fast paced drumming. It also covers SOD’s Speak English Or Die – though they change it to: “Speak Spanish or die…”
Bungle Grind features all the thrash, lighting speed, fingers bleeding guitars. Methematics gives me a bit more of a rock n roll vibe mixed in with the thrash and the Bungle sound of days gone by. At 8:46, it’s the longest track on the album. There’s time for this track to change and bend the deeper you delve into it; a thing of beauty.
Eracist, the next single to be unveiled, along with a purposely visually scattered and somewhat disturbing music video. This is one heck of a catchy track and it’s most definitely a highlight from the album for me. I am sure you’ll be singing “Eracissssst…” over and over in your head like I do. A welcomed ear worm.
Spreading The Thighs Of Death comes at you hard and fast, again with drums, guitars, bass and vocals that drill through you. Featuring distorted instrumental sounds and vocal sounds that stretch parts of the song into other realms. Loss For Words is a Corrosion Of Conformity track, with a nice slow breakdown in this one, it slows the pace down a little. Glutton For Punishment is back to the fast paced, in-your-face sound that stays fairly steady throughout the album. With whispers from Patton and impressively fast paced drums that draw me in and have me focus almost purely on them, though this song really does highlight the talents of all the musicians combining their powers to bring our pandemic saddened world their new music.
Wrapping things up in a brutally beautiful little parcel of new Bungle, is the final track, Sudden Death. This song highlights the combined sounds and genres of the band. The thrash is there, but so are some of the elements of everything else. The vocals pushing through to a grind vibe. Again I hear Suicidal Tendencies influence in places here too and a bit of King Parrot. With reverb/echoing on vocals in places and growls from Patton that seem animalistic, this song has it all.
I have been busy as hell lately, with a new full time job on top of my music work and raising three small versions of myself, each with their own unique personalities. Life is hectic. 2020 has been one hell of a ride. But taking some time out of my crazy schedule to review the new offering from Mr. Bungle has been a breath of fresh air. I am eternally grateful to the band for gifting the world their music. Creative, musical minds make me happy. Music makes me happy. New Bungle makes me happy.
Get your ears around the new release now and have some happy for yourself: HERE
To celebrate the release, you can also have a LIVE experience with Mr. Bungle presents “The Night They Came Home” – A Virtual Live Concert Experience – more details on the event page HERE.
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With thanks to Mushroom + Ipecac Recordings/Liberator Music