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By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 @ 9:42 AM

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A Wonderful Life

Napalm Records

A band with your average of 4 to 5 members will surely entail a lot of hardships, drama and uncertainty yet will also provide some avenue of getting your stress out, bonding and comradery that is a true testament to a band that can actually grow together. Now being in a band with 8 individuals and having a lifeline as a band that reaches 25 years to the day will definitely reflect the strength and determination it’s held on to and one such band that has stuck with their vision is Cleveland Ohio’s own MUSHROOMHEAD. As their 8th release and 1st record through their new home, Napalm Records, the mighty MUSHROOMHEAD return with A WONDERFUL LIFE. An album marking a monumental release for difficult times at over 70 minutes, with 17 tracks that will keep you entertained and occupied as you crank this on repeat.

Five years in the making and a lot of it done on the road as they have been a relentless touring machine, they wasted no time in getting their ideas down for this new album. Even now they were on the cusp of preparing for another tour but the cushion in time offered them the patience to put together an outstanding album. With the clean and crisp sound that is displayed, so much going on, with so many members in a band and such important parts they all play as everyone brings something to the table – nothing is simply filler or background noise. As Drummer/Percussionist and one of the Masterminds of the band, Skinny mentioned in the interview I had with him, pointing out the honor of having recorded some of the music at the world famous Abby Road Studios in London, it definitely captured the magic that only such a place can lend you.

Of all the cogs in this working organism, their vocals are likely the most important. Consisting of Mr. Rauckhorst, Ms. Jackie and now with the return of JMann – their vocal team-up is extraordinary and brings a multi-faceted appeal 2nd to none. Ms. Jackie steps in to take an even larger role on A WONDERFUL LIFE. Such is the case on the song "The Heresy" which is such a well-rounded song. She also takes the helm on "Pulse and Carry On", songs that can only be taken over the top with a females touch and these definitely hit the mark. "Seen It All" is appropriately the commercial song and is clear how this was 1 of the first singles they put out since it reflects their style they’ve carried for a long time.

Throughout their career, MUSHROOMHEAD didn’t solely stick to one style of Metal. They create an atmosphere made up of many different atmospheres that somehow all returns and combines together to make great music. They’ve even fell into the rap-rock ditch much like Nu-Metal had back in the day. There’s an Industrial feel in a lot of their music as well. Groove Metal is definitely part of their sound and typical of a lot of modern American Metal bands. There’s definitely a lot of melody and symphonic sounds in their arsenal as well. Then there is a Danny-Elfman-esque feel like in the "What A Shame" and the bonus track "To The Front".

The visual aspect of their act is an important part but it is in no way a crutch they depend on like MANY of the current gimmick bands nowadays who don’t really provide any kind of live show where they simply just stand there or jump around like a bunch of fools. No, MUSHROOMHEAD articulates their music with much more extreme creativity and there’s never a dull moment. Stemming from their love for all things horror, the “scary” masks and outfits that have always made up a large part of who they are is an extension of their creativity and personality. Creativity that has grown through the decades as well as the style of their getups has progressively gotten better and better throughout the years, much like their music has as well. Their music is an experience in itself and they’ve managed to paint an emotional and powerful album in A WONDERFUL LIFE.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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