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Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante CD (album) cover


Mr. Bungle



4.01 | 217 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Mr. Bungle is a bit of an enigma. They walk the line between freak-out-fans-only and mass-accessability, all the while doing it successfully. Their music is unpredictable, strange, and, in my opinion, brilliant.

Anyways, now onto the album. The first track is entitled "Everyone I Went to High School with is Dead", and it's can only be described as "freak-out metal". It begins with a riff and a chant and before soon, moves into "What the hell?" It's a surprising piece, and very much sets the mood for the entire album. You can really tell from the first track that this will be a rather crazy trip.

Onward to "Chemical Marriage". This track is without any real vocals, instead making the way for some vocal harmonizing mixed in with some keyboard playing that makes me feel a bit jazzy. The imagery I get during this song is that I'm in an elevator descending into a very psychedelic and strange place.

The next song, "Carry Stress in the Jaw", is somewhat unsettling and moody. A few shuffles with some very emotion-inducing bass behind Mike Patton's drawn-out and somewhat-high vocals don't prepare you for the metaljazz freakout that's about to come on. After this unholy shindig, comes to first part to make you feel strange again, then the song descends into the abyss again. This song both manages to set moods working inside of you and rock out at the same time. Very good.

The secret track in "Carry" is basically a hilarity piece with some old man getting booted out of the band. There's some wonderful vocal-harmonizing in this track and also some reminiscence of surf-music. This track shows Mike Patton's vocal talent pretty well, in that he can portray a silly character while just before this track, he was stretching his voice to create dark, unsettling moods.

"Desert Search for Techno Allah" definitely has some interesting stuff going on. Like every song on this album, this song shifts swiftly and smoothly, and elevates itself into one of the more unpredictable tracks on the album. That's the true greatness of this track: you don't know where it's going, but you're bound to love it anyway. Wonderful guitar and keyboard work are abound in this track. Perhaps the best parts are the subtle Eastern undertones, for those of us who can notice behind all the sinister and strange instrumental stuff going on. Again, another mostly vocal-less track, aside from chanting and harmonics.

"Violenza Domestica" begins with what sounds like two knifes scratching together, and then in comes a few subtle chords. The song blends into several chaotic things, inserting pianos, "at-the-opera" music, grinding metal-guitars, and whistling. You guessed it, this is another one of those unpredictable tracks. Among the chaos, Mike Patton sings in foreign tongues, and soon you're bound to ask yourself, "What am I listening to?" This song manages to be an aural assault and a pleasure at the same time. Best way to describe this track: organized, tamed chaos.

"After School Special" is very much a contradictory track. The music sets a serious tone, while Mike Patton sings about his mom being better than your mom (and your dad, too). It messes with your mind because you expect to hear about somebody dying but when the track ends, you don't know what to think. The best part is, that's surely what Mr. Bungle intended. Near the end, the song turns into a weird monologue, with Patton speaking through a vocal alteration device, sounding like an estranged kid, and asking a bunch of questions to an unheard entity. Weird, but fitting.

The next track, "Phlegmatics", starts out metally. The next parts aren't as chaotic or strange as the previous tracks, but they certainly have an awkward feel to them, combining slow guitar playing with speedy drumming and drawn-out vocals. The song does feel a little bit like "Carry", but it is also different in that it doesn't quite freak-out, as much as it creates a tone. Just when you think the song is over, it kicks back in, ascending back to where it started, and then stops.

"Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz" reminds me of music you'd hear in Looney Tunes, except it's more unpredictable and Mike Patton sings in foreign tongues, once more. The song creates vivid imagery through the instruments. Another one of those up-down-up-down songs. By now, you can tell Mr. Bungle is trying to keep you on your toes. The highlights of this track are the bizarre xylophonery and the metallic sinister segments, almost descending to doom metal proportions at some parts.

"The Bends" starts off with some music you'd expect to hear an old sci-fi film about going to Mars. Patton soon enters with some harmonization, and then the music fades at 1:35. You think, is that it? And then, the music starts up again with a jazzy shuffle on the ride, and some subtle keyboarding. Then the bass comes in and the keyboard comes in, full force, and you feel all jazzy again, somewhat like "Chemical Marriage", but this segment actually is jazz. Once again, Patton harmonizes. The track then goes into a segment where it fades in and out, with most of it being subtleties and mood-setting. Some parts sound like you're hearing them through a wall, very muffled and such. The whole ten minutes is all about setting moods. The song feels very much like it is attempting to tell a story without words, but instead steadfast instrumentality. I feel like this song could be a soundtrack for a silent movie, albeit a very strange one.

The next song is entitled "Backstrokin'", and is an easy-flowing song compared to its predecessors. The song is predictable, and probably the most normal on this album. That doesn't make it any less enjoyable, though, as it makes a point of being easy-listening. It slowly feels like it's tearing at the seams, especially towards the end.

The song blends quickly into "Platypus", another one that starts off metally and then moves into some other things. There are some subtly-inserted funkstuff that occurs as well, with some jazz clarinet too. The song works both on subtleties and extremes, but it flows together especially well. "Platypus" shows best the talents of the makers of this album, since it flows so well while at the same time covering so much ground.

Finally, the last track, "Merry Go Bye-Bye" starts out pretty poppy, and feels very surfy. The song seems to put Patton in front, with him singing more than any song on the album. Before soon, the song descends (like a few others) into a doom-metal-esque track, but before long this fades into a techno-y beat. And then, a keyboard freak-out. And that creates a large segment, working between those messy styles to create gold from chaos. This song highlights largely Bungle's method of moving amongst styles, fluidly capturing the concepts of the entire album in one piece. The song fades and then about a minute of silence ensues before a secret track.

The secret track is more concentrated chaos, with what sounds like a child playing on some drums moving in and out of prerecorded mess. The secret track isn't very vital to the album. To me, it simply sounds like the band's having fun and messing around. It doesn't do any damage since a lot probably won't hear it anyway. It's still fun to listen to once, though.

Well, that's it. Disco Volante. Prime music, in my mind, and essential to prog-enthusiasts. This album earns five stars for being a prime example of modern prog rock, if not all of prog rock itself.

| 5/5 |


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