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Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante CD (album) cover


Mr. Bungle



4.01 | 217 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Sub-Basement of the Funhouse

When my group of metalhead friends discovered Mr. Bungle's first album in the early 90's, we were flabbergasted. The CD completely redefined what could be done by a metal band (the massive number of sub-genres in metal had yet to evolve at that point). When _Disco Volante_ came out in 1995, I enthusiastically snatched it up, expecting more circus music and pottymouth. Well, Mr. Patton and the boys had no such intentions. Instead, I got what at the time was the most challenging record I'd ever heard, and even after 13 more years of very wide musical exploration, it may still hold that title.

Even on the first listen, I think any serious musician is going to realize that they are listening to something truly remarkable. The most accessible song on the album, Desert Search for the Techno Allah, is incredibly catchy, to the point that I find myself humming Qiyamat, Qiyamat a Tawil not that infrequently. Along with his own self-created jibberish language (Ma Meeska Mow Skwoz), Patton sings, warbles, recites, regurgitates, and moans in Arabic, Italian, possessed baby, and who knows how many other languages and characters. A master of considerable range already, this is his signature album, the one that makes the imitators just hang it up. As a fun highlight on the disc, bassist Trevor Dunn adds a little bit of Grampa Simpson on Secret Song just for good measure.

The instrumentation, though not as virtuosic individually, is a piece of genius in terms of composition, especially considering this was done in the pre-Pro Tools world. Along with their trademark genre- flopping, the band incorporate massive amounts of dissonance, jazz sensibility, experimentation, samples, and at times just noise. Carry Stress in the Jaw is the highlight in this regard, spanning massive musical territory and still holding together remarkably well.

The album starts quite strong, but by the time we get to the much-maligned The Bends, things become a more free form, chaotic, and lose their interest a little for me. The final track, Merry Go Bye Bye, has some brilliant sections, but is overlong by several minutes, even before considering the random sound effects at the end. Of course, the listener (maybe just this listener) may be suffering from mental fatigue, because making sense of this music can be exhausting.

There is no doubt that this is a monumental album. Like most masterpieces, it has highs and lows, but this stands as one of the most ambitious, experimental, skilled, and insane albums of the 1990's. This is album #1 in the Avant-Metal sub-category, and still essential for followers of all related genres.

Negoba | 5/5 |


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