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MR. BUNGLE

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Mr. Bungle picture
Mr. Bungle biography
Founded in Eureka, California, USA in 1985 - Disbanded in 2000

The original line-up included: Mike PATTON (vocals), Trey Spruance (guitar), Trevor DUNN (bass), and Jed Watts (percussion). From 1986-1989 they released 4 demo's before being signed to a major label contract with Warner Bros. Records. During those years there were numerous line-up changes most notably the replacement of Danny Heifetz on percussion and Clinton "Bär" McKinnon on tenor sax.

When "Mr. Bungle" was released on August 13, 1991, it featured the sounds of funk, death metal, ska, video games, carnivals, the band jumping from a train, defecating, and much more. "Disco Volante" came out in October of 1995, 4 years after the release of their self-titled album because of the members' commitments to other projects. The album would contain the styles of lounge music, jazz, techno, surf rock, death metal, tango, and sounds never witnessed by the human ear, too difficult to discern or describe. "Disco Volante" is one of the most outrageously bizarre albums ever conceived, even surpassing that of the legendary Frank ZAPPA. July 13, 1999 would see the release of "California," which included the musical styles of jazz-swing, surf-rock, pop, klezmer-polka-metal, doo-wop, lounge music, and of course, you guessed it, even more. This album was to be accepted more than "Disco Volante" because it wasn't as challenging to the listener. It would also perhaps be their most melodious and pleasant album yet. Their is too much difficulty in trying to compare MR. BUNGLE with another group or artist because they're completely their own creation.

The entire MR. BUNGLE catalogue is excellent and varied. "Mr. Bungle" is recommended for listeners wanting to explore what a carnival on acid would sound like. Each song on the album is memorable and stays in your head; catchy songs. "Disco Volante" is for those adventurous listeners brave enough to ascend into a cacophony of mad scientist musicians. Not a commercial album! "California" is the easiest of the album's to digest, though some of the songs are very Volante-esque.

: : : Kurt Zander, USA : : :

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MR. BUNGLE discography


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MR. BUNGLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 183 ratings
Mr. Bungle
1991
4.01 | 217 ratings
Disco Volante
1995
4.11 | 208 ratings
California
1999
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo
2020

MR. BUNGLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MR. BUNGLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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MR. BUNGLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.83 | 15 ratings
The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny (demo)
1986
2.71 | 16 ratings
Bowl Of Chiley (demo)
1987
3.43 | 16 ratings
Goddammit I Love America! (demo)
1988
3.37 | 16 ratings
OU818 (demo)
1989

MR. BUNGLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 3 ratings

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The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The year 2020 has been not only a year of strange events on a global scale but in the world of music it has produced some unexpected returns from artists who have been absent from the scene for decades. Bands like Cirith Ungol, Psychotic Walz and Asuk Maboul have been resurrected from a suspended cryogenic state but perhaps the band i least expected to be making a comeback has to be the inimitable one of a kind act MR BUNGLE.

When i discover an all time favorite band planning a release some 20 years after they officially called it quits i always have to slap my head with a sigh thinking DON'T DO IT! I want my favorite bands who have gone down as legends to remain pure and pristine as far as quality material goes and MR BUNGLE with its three eccentric screwball concoctions released in the 90s proved to be some of the most original musical expressions ever laid down in the recording studio.

But then again during that reign in the underground MR BUNGLE was always about throwing curve balls and 21 years after the release of their last album "California," the boyz from Eureka, California have done it again! Unfortunately we don't get an album that incorporates every musical genre ever created gleefully mixed together in the most defiant and unorthodox manners.

Instead we get a re-recording of the band's very first demo released in 1986 titled THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY only this 2020 version adds a few tracks and for some reason jettisons the track "Evil Satan." Oh, and this one also officially adds the word DEMO to the title.

MR BUNGLE has always pretty much been the magic triumvirate mojo of vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance and bassist Trevor Dunn with other members recruited for whatever sounds were required for the job.

Unlike BUNGLE's avant-garde display of a musical encyclopedia, EASTER BUNNY goes back to the band's earliest years as a crossover thrash band with a bit of death metal and hardcore punk mixed into the overall metal therefore you can forgot about Arabic musical scales, funk, ska, doowop, surf rock, Indonesia monkey chants or any of the gazillion musical ideas mined for the three album procession.

This is a metal album from beginning to end. Along for the ride this time are Scott Ian from Anthrax as the rhythm guitarist and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo making this DEMO release sound like a very professional sounding album but i wonder why original BUNGLE drummer Jed Watts who appeared on the original EASTER BUNNY DEMO wasn't asked to rekindle the early years in this reunion moment.

After finally hearing this updated DEMO turned slickly produced album in the year 2020, what are we to think? Are we happy to have the BUNGLERs in a bonafide reunion of sorts or are we pissed that all that amazing talent is wasted on a somewhat average but excellently performed thrash metal album?

Well the answer to that is somewhere in between. Given the MR BUNGLE canon of the 90s the band never really had the chance to be, well, just a metal band as these guys were always trying to cram one more musical idea into the mix until it morphed into a gargantuan chimera that evolved into something completely different.

On this EASTER BUNNY update (ironically released in time for Halloween!), the boyz from Eureka just get to take off their magic backpacks filled with every musical flavor this side of the sun and simply crank out some seriously manic, raw, noisy, aggressive and HEAVY metal music albums.

This updated DEMO features all of the original eight tracks of the 1985 demo only for some mysterious reason "Evil Satan" was nixed. The new release has four new tracks including "Glutton For Punishment," "Mathematics," "Eracist" and "Loss For Words," as well as the track ""Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere" which includes the original track and cleverly incorporates Ian Scott's irreverent crossover thrash band's material from Stormtroopers of Death.

Yeah, there are definitely some BUNGLE-isms tucked into the mix but for the most part THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY DEMO is a rampaging and galloping thrash metal album displaying Patton's vocal antics and allows Spruance to actually throw out some lead guitar here and there.

To be honest this wasn't i wanted in a new MR BUNGLE album. In fact i wasn't even wanting a new album after all this time. While this little gimmick is an excellently performed aggressive assault on the sense made all the more palatable by the drumming prowess of Lombardo and the inclusion of Scott Ian, what we all really want is whatever was supposed to emerge after "California!"

Hopefully this is simply a little side note that is getting the band back into shape after a long absence from the scene but now that you have gotten this out of your system, guys, PLEASE do not feel the need to re-record the other three demos as well! We want 90s MR BUNGLE with all that genre bending insanity!

Despite it all though i have to admit that this is an excellent slice of hardcore thrash metal that delivers the required aggressiveness for that classic thrash attack but at an hour's playing time it perhaps could've been trimmed down just a wee bit. Whatever! MR BUNGLE is back! Yeah 2020 truly is the weirdest year ever and this only adds to the surreality.

 California by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.11 | 208 ratings

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California
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The theatric-cabaret stylings of these songs are so wonderful and refreshing, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't be entertaining and enjoyable for any and all listeners. Roll the cinematic music of Elvis in the 1950s with big band, klezmer, Dick Dale, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and you might get something like this music.

1. "Sweet Charity" (5:05) theatric in an almost cabaret way, but flush with catchy and smiley melodic and quirky hooks. Great song--very memorable in a 1960s kind of way. (10/10)

2. "None of Them Knew They Were Robots" (6:03) amazingly entertaining! Even without hearing the lyrics (I can't help but catch a few of the shocking non-sequiturs), I just love this song! (10/10)

3. "Retrovertigo" (4:59) acoustic guitar and Fender Rhodes piano set the stage for a slow song. Singers join in on multiple levels, the lead being mostly a whispery high male--until, at least, the chorus--then, at 1:44, one of the background singers steps forward to deliver in a full tenor. The music stays slow and simple, almost nursery/lullaby-like, until 3:17 when a big wall of sound comes crashing in, with power chords, amped drums, choral vocals, and everything. (8.75/10)

4. "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" (3:55) Straight out of a BEACH BOYS/ELVIS beach movie soundtrack. What fun! Is it parody or serious? Very interesting and clever vocal delivery with different vocalists injecting each word of the lyrics in places. Then, at 2:07, it moves to a saloon of the Wild West before returning to the beaches of SoCal. (8.75/10)

5. "Ars Moriendi" (4:10) Arabian melodic riffs with Middle Eastern/European instrumentation opens this one before letting everything go fast-paced crazy (in a very organic Arabian way). Pure craziness abounds! (8.75/10)

6. "Pink Cigarette" (4:55) parodying the early rock'n'roll themes and styles popularized by a California-caucasion element of the 1950s and early 60s. Clever but not really amounting to much for me. (8.25/10)

7. "Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy" (3:34) could be from the soundtrack of a Hitchcock or Peter Sellers or Danny Elfman movie. Interesting, entertaining, very quirky and off-the-wall, and, perhaps, quite ingenius. Take David Byrne's quirk and multiple it tenfold. (8.5/10)

8. "The Holy Filament" (4:04) dark and dramatic, the soundscape of the opening is incredible! The big deep bass chords off-set by upper octave piano notes is used to awesome effect! Then strings enter in the second half followed by male vocal choir. So cool! (9/10)

9. "Vanity Fair" (2:58) sounds like something from Peter Cetera/CHICAGO from the mid-70s. (8/10)

10. "Goodbye Sober Day" (4:29) Fully representational of the title, this was probably a lot of fun for the band to create, but it does little for me, other than slightly entertain. (8/10)

Total Time: 44:08

Perhaps this is where bands like HUMBLE GRUMBLE, PINK MARTINI, and PINK LEMONADES got some of their inspiration.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of highly theatric musical entertainment.

 California by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.11 | 208 ratings

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California
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Although they only released a mere three albums in a span of nine years, MR BUNGLE never repeated what came before and strived to make each album completely different than the last and in the process created three of the most daring experimental albums that the entire 90s had to offer. After four demos that saw the band grow from a bunch of deranged teenagers in Eureka, CA cranking out substandard death metal which led to the funk metal Zappa-infused potty-mouth prog of the self-titled debut, MR BUNGLE caught a complacent world of glam metal and early grunge off guard with its 1991 slap-in-the-face whack job that mixed funk, metal, jazz and even circus music with the avant-garde laced with progressive rock sensibilities. The band continued four years later with its second no limits avant-garde extravaganza "Disco Volante" which threw out all the rules and totally allowed the creative frenzy to explode into a million directions.

The first two albums gleefully flipped the middle finger to the music establishment despite appearing on the Warner Bros. label. The goal was to create unruly difficult listening music that excelled at merging the juvenile unrefined with the technical and progressively infused compositions that adopted as many music genres as possible and made them perform unthinkable acts together in broad daylight. However, with Mike Patton getting his avant-garde noise rock itch scratched not only in Mr. Bungle and Faith No More but he also released solo albums and crafted other projects such as Fantômas which meant that when it was time to record the third MR BUNGLE album, he'd let off a lot of steam and there seemed to be nothing more to prove. In fact all the band members had matured a bit. Trey Spruance had started his spinoff band Secret Chiefs 3 inspired by the track "Desert Search For Techno Allah" and had learned the art of crafting sophisticated melodies and intricate rhythms by fusing Middle Eastern and Indian folk traditions with electronica, heavy metal, surf rock and soundtrack music. Both Trevor Dunn and Bär McKinnon went along for the ride and in the process tamed down a bit.

For the band's third album CALIFORNIA, the band minus Theo Lengyel who left after "Disco Volante" due to creative differences, decided to forge a new path and in the process created the most accessible album of the MR BUNGLE trilogy. Instead of focusing on the goal of creating a cacophonous uproar for the sake of evoking sonic terror with mind-blowing qualities, the band instead shifted gears into the world of progressive pop which crafted intricate melodies and accentuated them rather than taking them to the slaughterhouse. Keeping in line with the band's earlier albums, CALIFORNIA carried on the by-then tradition of genre hopping and extreme fusion but this time everything was polished like the smoothest gem stone and the aim was to make irresistible pop hooks that instantly caught your attention and only then allowed the weirdness to develop organically. Gone were the excessive time signature changes and avant-garde jazz-metal gone wild with references to sexual innuendoes and potty mouth vulgarities. In were lush orchestrated sing-along compositions that included Hawaiian traditional folk, Middle Eastern music, electro-funk, doo-wop, surf rock, circus music, psychobilly, kecak, thrash metal, lounge exotica, space age pop, jazz rock, piano rock and spaghetti westerns.

CALIFORNIA focused mainly on the sounds of 60s with the vocal surf pop of the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean providing the greatest inspiration however this was more like some psychotic alternative timeline gone wrong for 60s pop music and this was MR BUNGLE of course so the brilliant madness had to find more adaptable ways to weave itself around the pop hooks and soulful vocal led lyrics. Once again, MR BUNGLE caught a loyal fanbase completely off guard and in the process alienated the hardcore crowd that didn't appreciate this sugary sell-out music but in the process found a whole new audience who found the first two albums to be nothing but abrasive and vituperative noise. And then there are those like me who find all three MR BUNGLE albums to be beautifully designed masterpieces which when taken in their own context will impregnate the listener with musical ecstasy.

Right from the getgo MR BUNGLE startles the listener who is expecting a throwback to "Squeeze Me Macaroni" or even some spastic jazz, metal or hybrid of the two. Instead it's the sound of seagulls, the ocean and what sounds like the easy listening music of 1960s Burt Bacharach with lush symphonic orchestration and sweet sugary melodies. OMG! What happened? one may ask! Hold on, be patient. Around the two minute mark the melodies start to morph with bizarre key changes and pitch manipulation. Doo-wop backing vocals offer infectious counterpoints and the track while perhaps the tamest on the entire album is quite beautifully designed. An odd opener for sure but perhaps it serves as an inoculation to the stylistic shift so that the rest of the album sounds more dynamic. Things pick up with the second track "None Of Them Knew They Were Robots" which picks up the tempo immediately with what sounds like rampaging zombies trying to break down the door but then morphs into country western swing music with exotica along with some surf rock and psychedelic rock organ runs. The horn section cranks out some cool big band swing while Hawaiian slack key guitar and organ runs finish the job.

"Retrovertigo" is the ballad of the album with the slowest tempo and the track that is the least affected by the avant-garde regalia that only grow in intensity beginning with the fourth track "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" which also starts out as a ballad but after a soulful performance by Mike Patton ramps up the speed and sounds like a battle between 60s Beach Boys vocal surf, the space pop of Joe Meek along with some occasional metal guitar heft and percussive drumming outbursts. The track ratchets up the morphing of various genres sharing the stage. "Ars Moriendi" begins with guitar heft and then finds a violin cranking out a Middle Eastern riff. The album is fortified with 14 session musicians who add English horn, cello, violin, viola, accordion, trumpet, harmonica, pedal steel guitar, French horn, cymbalom, piano, timpani, tam tam and bass drum. The album is extraordinarily rich in various timbres that add the extremities that make up for the lack of the excesses of the past. Back to "Ars Moriendi," the track goes through several stages with a Mediterranean cafe styled accordion mixing with the violin, a heavy rock guitar as well as surf rock and cartoon music. A true MR BUNGLE classic if there ever was one.

"Pink Cigarette" tackles the 60s spaghetti western sound obviously inspired the soundtrack music of Ennio Morricone at first but then becomes a tender ballad sort of track with odd little sounds inserted here and there except that the subject matter tackles the morbidity of suicide which finds a horn replicating one of those machines at the hospital that show the heartbeat and ends in that "they're dead!" sound. "Golem II: The Bionic Vapor Boy" is the weirdest track on CALIFORNIA. It begins like a futurist A.I. robot ballet version of the Nutcracker with a windup music box sound and then proceeds into electro-funk with robot vocals and interesting bouncy grooves alongside freaky musical scales creating utterly bizarre soundscapes. It's just all so friggin cool how they juxtapose sounds to create a larger sum of the parts! "The Holy Filament" is more reflective with piano arpeggios ushering in heavenly vocals except that the musical scales are dark and ominous. "Vanity Fair" is more jocular with a bouncy old time rock and roll feel with doo-wop backing vocals and a rather gospel-like vocal performance by Mr. Patton.

One of my favorite tracks is the closing "Goodbye Sober Day" which starts out with a rock and roll style like a late 50s prom along with heavy percussion from those serrated sticks you rub. The track morphs several times, first into a slow contemplative keyboard driven kind of lounge exotica and then eventually drifts into a mass Gregorian chant that itself cedes to a thrash metal guitar accompanied by a performance of Indonesian monkey chants and then makes full circle back to the opening style before ending the album and leaving the listener wondering once again what just happened! While the first two MR BUNGLE albums were chaotic and unpredictable and often random, CALIFORNIA is cohesive with every single element existing in a logical location and cyclical loops with recurring themes and a melodic connection are what gives CALIFORNIA its magic mojo. Ironically the album was scheduled to be released on the same day as the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their album "Californication" and thus was delayed a week because of the long time feud between Mike Patton and RHCP lead singer Anthony Kiedes.

As far as i'm concerned, MR BUNGLE hit a home run three times in a row. The band is a legend and one of my favorite artists of all time. They made the impossible seem effortless as they crafted three distinct albums that all stood on their own two feet and didn't even have to blow away the competition because there wasn't any! MR BUNGLE existed outside of known time and space and therefore exudes an otherworldly demeanor that would make this stuff weird anytime and anywhere. The genius of these guys is that they utilized the sensual sensibilities to appeal to your emotional state while bedazzling you with artistic wizardry and unthinkable juxtaposition of styles and sounds hitherto unheard. This would be the end of the line for MR BUNGLE as they wisely chose to retire the brand name and focus on their retrospective solo careers. Trey Spruance was already finding success with the Secret Chiefs 3 and Mike Patton continued his restless pursuit of the next avant-garde sounds in dozens of other projects. CALIFORNIA is yet another masterpiece by the crazed kids from Eureka. Nobody saw that coming.

 Disco Volante by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.01 | 217 ratings

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Disco Volante
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars MR BUNGLE started out simply as the whacky project of a bunch of crazy high school students in Eureka, CA but against all odds managed to find its way into scoring a three album deal with Warner Bros mostly due to lead singer Mike Patton's involvement with Faith No More which scored big with a single that hit the top ten with "Epic." As the 80s ceded into the 90s, suddenly everything alternative was en vogue and MR BUNGLE emerged from nowhere to shocking the world with its avant-garde weirdness laced with ample doses of goofy absurdity. While once only associated with artists such as Frank Zappa, however he and his projects which were in tune with current trends and often reinvented his style to co-exist, MR BUNGLE unapologetically ignored contemporary the popular musical scene and in the contrary crafted some of the most unorthodox musical hybrids ever recorded.

The self-titled debut emerged in 1991 and immediately shocked the Faith No More fanbase since the album showcased Patton's true restless and creative nature that went well outside the commercial paradigms of alternative rock. The debut was eclectic but still used the BUNGLERS' eclectic mix of funk metal as the canvas to create upon. Inspired by funk and rock bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Camper Van Beethoven, Oingo Boingo and Bad Manners, the sextet decorated the funk metal paradigm the with added elements of jazzy brass sounds and ska rhythms. Astonishingly the band was allowed complete freedom to explore any avenue of desire, a trait so very rare in the music business of the era. And as extremely bizarre and unorthodox as the debut was, it was simply a warm up session for what came next.

As Faith No More continued its success throughout the early 90s, MR BUNGLE was cleverly crafting its sophomore extravaganza. DISCO VOLANTE (Italian for 'flying saucer'), a title that refers to the James Bond yacht in the film "Thunderball" emerged three years later in 1995 and took things into the stratosphere of experimental rock laced with the band's already established genre hopping eccentricities but this time the band exploited every possible sound, style and genre they could muster up and in the process, gone was the stabilizing factor of the funk ska rock infused with jazz and metal. DISCO VOLANTE was an avant-garde free-for-all and to this day remains one of the craziest albums ever to appear on a major record label. How these guys got away with all this freedom is the biggest mystery of all. Perhaps Warner Bros saw the potential of these albums catching on over time but for most who had warmed up to the debut album were left in a state of stupor as DISCO VOLANTE seemed like an entirely new mutant strain that infected this band from some far away planet.

While the genre hopping nerd factor had already been turned up to steaming on the debut album, DISCO VOLANTE was like a volcanic eruption of everything but the kitchen sink. The band basically brought to the table all the different sounds that the six members of Mike Patton (vocals, tape, ocarina, organ), Trey Spruance (guitar, organ, keyboards, electronics, biwa), Theobald Brooks Lengyel (woodwinds), Clinton McKinnon "Bär" (tenor sax, clarinet, drums, keyboards), Trevor Dunn (bass, viol) and Danny Heifetz (drums and percussion) were influenced by. Spruance for example was into lounge exotica, electro-acoustic, noise and Middle Eastern techno while Patton was fascinated by Italian folk, the space pop of Joe Meek, theatrical music and tangos. Dunn on the other hand was fascinated in deconstructing music and sewing it back together like a sonic Frankenstein. Due to the change of musical direction the horn section had been significantly reduced and therefore band member Theobald Brooks felt like his services were no longer needed and left the band shortly thereafter. Clinton McKinnon on the other hand simply adapted to the new expanding dramatic shifts.

DISCO VOLANTE is like being bombarded with a tornado of sounds, styles and schizophrenic freedom. The tracks are literally all over the music map ranging from sludge and death metal, psycho-jazz-metal, surf rock, Middle Eastern techno, mystique concrète, tango, exotica lounge, freeform jazz, sound collages and psychedelia. The album exemplifies the ultimate expression of DIY musical freedom except that it's all dressed up with high budget production, engineering and mixing which makes DISCO VOLANTE perhaps the most professionally recorded example of renegade rock since Frank Zappa's unique stamp on the 70s. The album is rich with different instruments as well. Guest musicians provide the extra touches of piano, bandoneon, cymbals, bongos, jew's harp, tabla, kanjira, sistrums, xylophone and glockenspiel. In addition to the influences aforementioned, there are many styles of ethnic music adding extra colorful textures ranging from African rhythms, Slavic folk as well as the more obvious Middle Eastern touches.

Everything about the album exudes a sort of retro feel from the 60s but in a demented alternative universe. Of all the sounds on board, only the death metal on "Merry Go Bye Bye" and the sludge metal of the introductory "Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead" borrow from the contemporary musical world. Tracks like "Chemical Marriage" seem like the result of am acid trip gone wrong where lounge exotica music and psychedelic rock of the 60s fuse whereas "Carry Stress in the Jaw" and "Platypus" engage in knotty over-the-top feats that tackle the most extreme examples of jazz-metal distorted into overly complex constructs simply for the sake of doing so. The lyrics retain the goofiness of the debut however the contrast of the lyrics and music adds to the more surreal nature of DISCO VOLANTE. "Violenza Domestica" is like a tango soundtrack to the alternative version of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" whereas the cleverly crafted electronic of "Desert Search For Techno Allah" provided the blueprint for the entire world of Spruance's future project Secret Chiefs 3.

Out of this amazing roller coaster ride through the demented sonic universe of MR BUNGLE, some of the tracks have proven a hard pill to swallow for even the most stalwart followers. "The Bends" is a sound collage that entertains 10 distinct sections, all completely unique and all exhibiting the most impenetrable displays of the avant-garde. Based on the the theme of the decompression sickness that describes the condition of ascending to the surface too quickly after diving underwater, the short snippets that last from one to two minutes exude the scariest sounds on the album yet retain a humorous twist with titles like " Duet For Guitar and Oxygen Tank" and "Love on the Event Horizon." By far the weirdest of the weird but an effective non-melodic respite from the otherwise melodic constructs that mostly keep the album from spiraling into a world where no mere mortal can comprehend what is going on. "Platypus" is a favorite as it the most jaggedly angular example of jazz and metal dancing side by side that i've ever heard and displays the most technical workouts of the album. It comes off a modern form of the Canterbury Scene with its whimsy and technical wizardry all fused together or even some sort of jazz-metal-in-opposition.

The biggest mind f.u.c.k. is saved for the ending. "Merry Go Bye Bye / Nothing" starts out as a catchy even kitsch example of exotica lounge music about existential universal quandaries but abruptly morphs into death metal with noisy electronics which revives the death metal antics that the band hadn't performed since its first demo along with the chaotic electronica that Spruance fortified his Faxed Head project with. The chaotic mix goes off like a nuclear bomb designed to disturb and perplex any adventurous soul still going for the DISCO VOLANTE journey. Once the album ends it doesn't really end at all. After a period of silence, it finishes things off with practice session snippets that erupt into an explosive pyroclastic flow of unhinged energy and potty mouthed profanities that link it to the debut. After a cacophonous roar of dissonant horns, the album leaves you in shock and you'll never be the same.

Everything about DISCO VOLANTE is designed to contrast expectations. It feels both retro and futuristic and seemingly unrelated genres play side by side like lions and lambs at a warehouse rave. The album exists in a paradigm stubbornly outside of the commercial music world of 1995 and the album exudes an alienating effect that is somewhat like a musical VPN that disguises its era, location of creation and true genius of the members who crafted it. This album is basically just plain nuts yet it enthralls the soul with captivating technical workouts and innocent childlike melodies that evoke the most primeval attractions to music while contorting it to create mind-numbing expansions of consciousness. Despite al the odds, this album exists and the six guys involved took full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to create some of the least commercial music on the planet that strangely found an audience. Even more brilliant than the debut, DISCO VOLANTE showed quite clearly that MR BUNGLE was no one trick pony and had a seemingly bottomless wellspring of ideas and influences to mine. Disturbing and beautiful, this album is exquisitely unique and mind blowing. Easily one of my favorite albums of all time.

 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.02 | 183 ratings

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Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Very few albums have had life changing impacts on me, hitting me at a pivotal point in my life and actually succeeded in blowing my mind upon first listen, but Eureka, CA produced one of the craziest, most bizarre and schizoid bands ever to exist. MR BUNGLE has gained a cult status since this self-titled debut sprang itself onto an unsuspecting public back in 1991 but at the time, there was absolutely NOTHING that existed that was this spastic and bonkers and spun the circle of musical genres like Vanna spinning letters on Wheel of Fortune.

While the band had its origins all the way back in the 80s and started out as a death metal band, somewhere along the line they adopted a funk metal approach as the canvas to paint their surrealistic visions upon. Infused with a DIY punk ethos, MR BUNGLE sprang from nowhere and pummeled the music world with the craziest mix of punk, funk, heavy metal, jazz, ska and even circus music all shaken n' stirred in a big steaming cauldron of avant-garde. I, personally as well as the rest of the world at large for that matter, would never be the same.

For those only familiar with Mike Patton in Faith No More, it must've come as a real shock upon hearing the debut MR BUNGLE album. For anyone expecting a similarly styled mix of melodic keyboard infused alternative metal, expectations were quickly shot down by Patton's true restless and creative nature. Ironically it was Patton's huge success with Faith No More that allowed the BUNGLE project to evolve out of the obscure underground stage to the big budget extravaganza that appeared on a huge record label like Warner Bros.

The BUNGLERS were a sextet which at this stage consisted of Mike Patton "Vlac Drac" (vocals), Trey Spruance "Scummy" (guitar), Theobald Brooks Lengyel (alto & baritone saxes), Clinton McKinnon "Bär" (tenor sax), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Danny Heifetz (drums). In addition to the main team was David Shea who provided renegade turntables, several backing vocalists and even a cameo with Patton's idol John Zorn who provided an sizzling psychotic sax solo on "Love Is A Fist." The album was a frenetic free for all yet crafted some of the catchiest melodies to reel you in before it took you on a wild roller coaster ride.

The album pulls no punches. The very first track "Quote Unquote" (originally titled "Travolta" but changed for legal reasons) smacks you in the face with a demented keyboard leading the way as Patton provides the role as the carnival barker with his twisted surreal lyrics about whatever came to mind. The groove ties it all together as the track shape shifts into psychedelia, heavy metal bombast and back to the original psycho-circus music that begins it. "Slowly Growing Deaf" gets even more wild and crazy and displays the band's love of hairpin musical twists that allow frenetic Fishbone styled funk metal to immediately turn into molasses slow space rock and then bombastic alternative metal heft. The part where the song falls into a deep space rock trance and is punctuated by a few seconds of heavy metal bombast is startling and hilarious!

"Squeeze Me Macaroni" not only wins for the most twisted nursery rhyme funk metal tune of all time but also displays Patton's ability to rap and roll on steroids like no one else in the rock world. The lyrics are goofy and as ridiculous as one could possibly imagine all backed up an incredible rhythm section and tons of sound effects to provide the proper cartoon effect. "Carousel" is the best example of circus metal i've ever heard with a hopping circus groove and a sizzling swing jazz section that adds some metal guitar heft and a demented clown feel and the track that most adequately represents the album cover by Dan Sweetman which is a character published in a DC Comics story called "A Cotton Candy Autopsy." Oh i forgot to mention the random bouts of surf rock!

"Egg" is a bass driven funk metal phenomena that tackles the eternal question of which came first: the chicken or the egg? Fortified with lots of funky grooves, a series of la-la-la's and horse truths of life decorated in humor, the funk sections are periodically interrupted by strange progressive outbursts of psychedelic rock, avant-garde angularities and ends with a lengthy mishmash of references to the Wizard of Oz with Patton shouting "There's No Place Like Home" which alternates with a number of avant-garde silliness. The perfect example of an album where juvenile potty mouth snot-nosed brat antics fuse perfectly with top-notch professional progressive rock technical musicianship. If one thing is clear at the half point of the album is that if you're not laughing your ass off, then you clearly lack the proper mental tools to appreciate this whacked out masterpiece!

"Stubb (A Dub)" is no less frenetic but is a much more serious affair displaying the bipolar nature of the album. It laments the loss of Patton's childhood pet while also showcasing some bizarre virtuosic Frank Zappa inspired avant-prog workouts. "My Ass Is On Fire" is an angular jittery punk infused metal track that alternates with a TV theme song type of funk groove. "The Girls Of Porn" jumps into the world of smut and begins with a snippet of a 1950s puppet show about MR BUNGLE, from which the band adopted its name. It's starts as a pure funk track but later adds elements of metal and of course plenty of samples from porno flicks! "Love Is A Fist" is the heaviest metal piece on board with frenetic guitar driven fury but never loses the funk connection with the rest of the tracks as it also has slower spaced out echoey parts. John Zorn joins in for a spectacular mind-blowing sax workout that is scary enough to exorcise demons!

Perhaps the strangest track on the whole album (and THAT's saying a lot!) is the finale "Dead Goon." This track is like hearing music from another dimension. It's absolutely so outside the box that there is really nothing to compare to. Not only on this album but anywhere really. It starts off in a noisy haze but then adopts a carnivalesque groove that offers strange twisted counterpoints to the bass groove. Patton's delivers weird gnarled vocals and the build ups drift off into avant-garde jazz turf with a soulful vocal performance. It's not that it's not wonderful catchy as hell but extremely unorthodox in how the parts are put together. Somehow despite all odds it works. And that's pretty much the same for the entire album really and as the album ends and then floats around through different disparate soundscapes, it leaves you wondering what the hell you just heard.

This album still blows me away as much as it did the first time. It's the kind of album that totally catches you off guard while it seduces you and then if you haven't run away scared to mommy, it continues to deliver different aspects of its true nature. The questions immediately arise. Were these guys aliens? Possessed by demons? On some really weird drugs? Who knows but one thing is clear. The guys in MR BUNGLE succeeded in creating a ridiculously technical progressive rock and metal masterpiece that was guaranteed to offend everyone's sensibilities as its goal was to deconstruct all the orthodoxies and programming and shatter all preconceptions. It certainly worked for my young impressionable mind and now decades after it's release, it still blows me away especially on an artistic level. Quite possibly the weirdest album in existence and the fact that MR BUNGLE pulled it off so amazingly well is simply a miracle. The true 21st century schizoid men have stood up!

 California by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.11 | 208 ratings

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California
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars What can you not say about Mr. Bungle? The band only put out 3 official studio albums (not counting demos and etc.), yet in their time together, they covered more musical ground than most bands do with 3 times that many albums. They put their mark on just about every style possible, and where they didn't put their mark as Mr. Bungle, the individual musicians did later in their careers, and still continue to do so.

Of course, there is Mike Patton on vocals and keyboards, who, as most know, has been called the most versatile singer on the planet. His name became famous as the lead singer for "Faith No More", but he has also sang for "Tomahawk", "Fantomas", on several John Zorn projects, his own solo projects (ranging from random noises to Italian standards), and so many others. There is Trey Spruance on guitar, who is the main man behind the amazing "Secret Chiefs 3" and their many incarnations and styles, Trevor Dunn on bass who also worked with "Secret Chiefs 3" and "Tomahawk", "The Melvins" John Zorn and many others, Danny Heifetz on percussion and drums and Clinton "Bar" McKinnon on sax, keyboards and French horn.

Mr. Bungle's fans always knew to expect the unexpected, and that is what they always tried to deliver. But the music was always so well done no matter what style they were playing. On this album "California" all of the members have input and credits on different songs and their differences were celebrated through the music and the variety of styles.

"Sweet Charity" starts with a Hawaiian or tropical vibe with a theatrical bent. The chorus is so cool with their cool cinematic spy theme. Patton can make his voice fit for any style, and he can be flamboyant as he is in this one but also sings so fully that you almost think he was an opera star. "None of Them Were Robots" has a progressive and rockabilly and swing style and you can even hear a slide guitar is you listen closely. Yes, that is correct. Of course, Patton switches his voice around without missing a beat. The music is all over the place and it is really amazing to hear. What is amazing is how they make so many styles sound so cohesive.

"Retrovertigo" begins with strummed guitar and electric keyboards playing in a mellow fashion before Patton sings a tricky melody as instruments follow right along with him. The style is a lounge style but with that complex melody. The instrumental background sounds a lot like a more recent ELO track, that is until things get more intense in the middle with more guitar along with the orchestral feel. Patton's voice also becomes more emotional. "The Air-conditioned Nightmare" has a definite psychedelic feel to it along with a Rhumba and be-bop style plus the usual complexity of progressive themes blended together. There is also among all this, an amazing use of harmonics.

"Ars Moriendi" has the middle-eastern and European influences mixed with other things, including bits of heavy metal, polka, Jewish dance and calliope music. "Pink Cigarette" has a nice r&b beat with sultry vocals and background vocal hi-jinx and some Indian riffs thrown in for good measure. By the time you get to the end of this one, the whole thing is just barely hanging on to sanity before the alarm goes off to signal the next funky and crazy track called "Golem II: The Bionic Vapor Boy" which takes a circus style music box and sends it through an insane transformation of insanity with a variety of vocal stylings and kooky effects. Love it!

"The Holy Filament" sounds almost like a TV sci-fi theme song with sometimes odd and sometimes beautiful vocal harmonies, and plenty of atmosphere, beauty and dissonance. You could call this track Psycho-cinematic. "Vanity Fair" sounds like a boy band on acid. R&B with finger snaps, 50s style background, and the feeling you are teetering on the edge. All the while, Patton is singing literal vocal impossibilities with complete aplomb. "Goodbye Sober Day" is probably the quirkiest track on here, and that is saying a lot. It's like everything you have just heard and thrown together and made to sound like a song, in a good way.

This is nothing short of amazing. With all the styles and everything mixed, it all comes out sounding like one of the most entertaining things you've every heard. It is too bad that this was their last album as it is a masterpiece, but if you are sad about this, you shouldn't be, because there are always the Mike Patton solo albums if you like his crazy voice, or there are the Secret Chiefs 3 albums that are mostly instrumental, but carry all of the styles and quirkiness of the Mr. Bungle albums. This album is definitely essential avant-prog at its best.

 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.02 | 183 ratings

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Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars The debut album of Mike Patton's greatest project is a deranged amalgamation of an incredible variety of genres including ska, funk, and metal. Nothing present here has even the slightest semblance of sanity, each song jumping around, being incoherent messes that all end up working well despite this, with demented, often disgusting lyrics ranging from masturbation, to death, to more out there concepts such as wanting to have sex with food. These obscene songs are further backed up by Mike Patton's one of a kind vocals, sounding cartoonish and clearly insane, almost reminding me of Spongebob Squarepants in places, yet having extreme versatility to go along with it which honestly just further sinks this album into utter madness. This is definitely not one for the faint of heart.

If you ignore the ridiculous outro of random noise, the album opener 'Quote Unquote' is one of the most coherent songs here, sure, sounding like a circus for the psychotic, but coherent nonetheless, only having a few riffs, and without any drastic changes within. Despite this, it's an awesome song with some seriously incredible groove. 'Slowly Growing Deaf' is probably the closest the album gets to a normal song, being a decent metal track that still has its fair share of weirdness to it, particularly the absurd screaming of Mike Patton, which will prove to be a common theme throughout the album. 'Squeeze Me Macaroni' sounds like a more hyperactive, metal focused 'Red Hot Chilli Peppers' song, incorporating a very strong funk element, complete with slap bass. The lyrics here are particularly absurd, using constant sexual innuendos relating to food, making for a disgusting, yet extremely fun and entertaining song. The various extended outros to the tracks in general prove to be ridiculous, yet very fitting for the album, being just as perverse and strange as the main portions of the songs. The ska track 'Carousel' is a definite highlight of the album, being the most fun song on the album, with wonderful saxophone and trumpet, along with an extremely catchy chorus, even if there are no actual lyrics in it. Just as with previous tracks, this one has a really dark tone to it despite the ridiculous music, having sections of pained screaming along with great deals of downtuning. The next highly notable song is 'Stubb - A Dub' a song that lacks guitar and has some of the more entertaining changes, switching between a really good melodic song, to circus-esque freakouts going far faster than the rest of the song, this all of course being before it goes completely mad near the end. 'My Ass Is On Fire' marks by far the heaviest song on the album, full of dissonant, noisy riffs, random screaming, even less coherence than the rest of the album, and a 2 minute outro that continuously devolves further and further, with Mike Patton constantly screaming "redundant", which becomes equal parts funny and cacophonous. The final three songs are somewhat less out there and memorable than the rest of the album, with 'The Girls of Porn' being a fairly straightforward funk metal track that greatly focuses on the lyrics, which are just as great as the are on the rest of the album. 'Love is a Fist' is the only song that I'd possibly consider a weak point on the album, although it still has its fair share of great moments, such as the high pitched saxophone solo and Mike Patton singing with even more ferocity than on the rest of the album. 'Dead Goon' is a track that I honestly would have considered average if not for 2 things that significantly pushed it to greatness, one of these being the incredible bass, easily what I'd consider to be the best on the album. The other factor is the extreme sense of discomfort felt during the final 5 minutes, as you continuously hear creaking as the rope the character of the song used to hang himself sways back and forth, with very eerie music to accompany it.

This is definitely some of the most deranged, obscene and disgusting music I've listened to at this point in time, and I absolutely love it. Basically anything that could have proven to be a downfall on the album instead works in its favour. The lack of coherence is balanced out by the overall sense of fun that the album has, never taking itself seriously enough to actually become annoying in how its handled. The constant burst of chaotic noise build the identity of this album, as things like the lyrics and vocals complement such an abrasive style. I can even enjoy the outros despite many of them being random noise, simply because they further strengthen the identity of the album, and are either ridiculous or amusing. All in all, while this is definitely far from easy listening, it represents some of my favourite avant garde music out there.

Best Songs: Carousel, Stubb - A Dub, My Ass Is On Fire

Weakest Songs: Love Is A Fist

Verdict: Absolutely demented, insane avant garde music that will definitely not be for everyone. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to listen to something weird, but will strongly advise against people who love beautiful and coherent music to listen to this twisted masterpiece.

 OU818 (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.37 | 16 ratings

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OU818 (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars MR BUNGLE released their fourth demo OU818 in 1989 after three previous demos that showed the band debut as a death metal band on 'The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny' and then took a complete stylistic shift on their second demo 'Bowel Of Chilly' as they completely dropped the style in favor of a Fishbone inspired fusion of ska and funk rock, however it took them a couple demos to warm up and finally scored a cohesive band sound on their third demo 'Goddammit I Love America!' On OU818 they continued to hone their sound into an undeniably addictive eclectic mix that at long last sounded like no one else on the music scene. Not only did Mike Patton get his vocal act together but compositionally speaking, the band began to fuse progressive rock into the jazz-fusion and funk metal mix.

The title OU818 was a play on the popular yet lame Van Halen album of the day titled 'OU812' which found the Van 'Hagar' sound rapidly failing and becoming stale. This is the point where both Danny Heifetz would replace Hans Wagner on drums and B'r McKinnon would take over Luke Miller's role on horns. The classic lineup was complete and the chemistry is magic at this point. The band had even taken it upon themselves to handle the production and it really does sound much better than the three demos that came before. While the debut demo was clearly rooted in the metal world, the band took a hiatus for the next two with only snippets of heaviness but the heavy riffing returned on OU818 with bombastic outbursts of funk metal riffing interspersed between the surreal soundscapes that sandwiched them.

OU818 is in effect a rough draft of the eponymous debut album that would appear on the Warner Brothers label in 1991. Of the six tracks aboard, four are almost nearly completed tracks from the first album which include: 'Squeeze Me Macaroni,' 'Slowly Growing Deaf,' 'The Girls Of Porn' and 'Love Is A Fist.' The remaining two tracks consist of the opening 'OHUE818' which is a snazzy little intro with Patton emulating a radio DJ talking [&*!#] about the new demo and dissing the Van Halen album that was current with electronic music sputtering on in the background. While the main staple is the ska infused funk rock and metal that they had been developing, MR B had diversified its sound manyfold finding not only more metallic riffs interspersed about but a clear John Zorn influence raging on in the horn section especially on 'Love Is A Fist.'

The final track only appears on this demo and despite a track name like 'Mr. Nice Guy' sounding like a possible alteration of an Alice Cooper classic, it is in fact a ska funk number with jazzy guitar riffs, a beefy bass line and an overall similar sound to the riffs heard on 'The Girls Of Porn.' MR B also has entered sound effect territory with the classic dialogue from the 50s school skit about how not to be a MR BUNGLE finding its way into their world as well as sudden genre shifts and time signature freak outs run amok. Overall this is an excellent demo and the best of the four as it sounds like a fully formed mature MR BUNGLE has emerged from the death metal and early Fishbone clone sounds of only a few short years before. So impressive is this demo that it caught the attention of Warner Bros who would release one of the weirdest albums of their label's history. While this is excellent as a demo, it still lacks all the perfecting touches that a major budget provides and since four out of six tracks are on the debut in a much better finished product, this remains excellent but not really essential. Very well worth the time to explore beyond just a hardcore fan curiosity though.

3.5 rounded down

 Goddammit I Love America! (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
3.43 | 16 ratings

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Goddammit I Love America! (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars MR BUNGLE released their first demo "The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny" in 1986 primarily influenced by the emerging thrash and death metal scenes and created a lo-fi punk feeling noisefest but soon thereafter must have realized how much they sucked at it and started listening to the funk ska rock of Fishbone and early Red Hot Chili Peppers and the rest was history when they turned all funky ska rock on their second demo "Bowel Of Chiley." While the band completely changed their sound up, they weren't ready for prime time for sure as the whole affair came off as a little amateurish despite some interesting moments. On their third demo release GODDAMMIT I LOVE AMERICA! the band was more comfortably adapting to the more recognizable sound heard on their debut album of 1991. On this one Mike Patton and company had totally developed their swinging ska sound with the occasionally driving heavy funky metal.

The tracks are all crafted primarily with funky guitar riffs, a beefy funk bass and Mike Patton's vocal acrobatics have already gained the power to veer all over the place like a circus performer. Also heard in the mix is their quirky carnival music that blends so well with their amusement park stylistic approach. GODDAMMIT I LOVE AMERICA! is a huge step above the first two demo in terms of songwriting as well as production. This is the first demo that would find two of its tracks to be more refined and polished and released on the debut album. Both "Egg" and "Carousel" are essentially already presented here in their full glory although they are clearly in need of some fine-tuning mostly in Patton's vocal abilities as he hadn't quite found the proper dramatic flair to grace each passage. This is especially true of "Carousel." On "Egg" there are interesting differences that can lend a clue as to how the track evolved into the huge monstrosity that it would become.

The rest of the demo is filled with similar sounding songs in comparison with those two that would appear on the debut album but none quite having the strong attraction of the one's chosen. Tracks like "Bloody Mary" and "Waltz For Grandma's Sake" aren't that bad actually however they sound a lot more like the ska funk rock band Fishbone who were doing a similar style at the time. At this point the three big names Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance are all on board with their respective talents as well as some early bunglers on the horn section including Luke Miller (who replaced Scott Fritz) on various horns and Theobald Lengyel on sax which gives the band a healthy sultry swing that had improved significantly from "Bowel Of Chiley. Gone as well are the comparisons to a mariachi band as the band has taken on a proper band sound of its own.

It was a wise choice for MR BUNGLE to walk away from the death metal that they displayed on their debut. Here they sound like they were made to create this interesting swinging, funk metal hybrid music that still incorporates some of that punk and metal freneticism from time to time. "Definition Of Shapes" is probably my favorite track on here that didn't graduate to the ranks of the debut album but possibly didn't cut the mustard because it has some of the same riffs as heard on "Egg" and also plays around and even briefly throws out some "Another One Bites The Dust" riffs by Queen with the end mixing funk rock with the track "Need You Tonight" by INXS. "Incoherence" is a nice little rocker turned into a beer hall polka mixed with punk angst. Overall this is a good demo well worth hearing once but just shy of essential and very much improved over the first two releases. This one was released only as a cassette and still hasn't made it onto a CD format.

 Bowl Of Chiley (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.71 | 16 ratings

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Bowl Of Chiley (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars The second MR BUNGLE demo emerged only a year after the first and found the band shedding their death metal skin and began to take on a ska funk rock sound that was part of the alternative underground of the 80s most notably mastered by bands like Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers and 24/7 Spyz amongst others. Likewise with a sound shift came a new cast of characters. While Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn were riding the BUNGLE carousel for the long run, others like Jed Watts and Martin Fosnaugh jumped ship after only one demo. While Theo Lengyel wouldn't remain with the band till its demise, he nevertheless appeared on all the early demos. The is also the only appearance of Scott Fritz who played trumpet.

So different in style is the second demo BOWEL OF CHILEY compared to the previous "The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny" that it sounds like a completely different band with only Mike Patton's signature vocal style giving a clue as to who this band is. While the first demo was rather short in length, BOWEL OF CHILEY is a full album's length with different tracks taking on different identities ranging from ska and funk rock to (occasional) avant-garde metal and just plain weird rock. While the the next two demos showcased many of the primeval forms of tracks that would be reworked and released on the 1991 debut album, this one contains almost exclusively compositions that would never see the light of day on any album with the sole exception of "Carousel" which sounds very primitive compared to the masterpiece it would become. While the main melodic riff was already developed, Mike Patton's vocals weren't and the whole thing sounds like a drunken romp at a Mexican mariachi party.

Speaking of mariachi parties, "Evil Satan" probably sounds the most like a Mexican tequila march and fully in sync with the swing revival fad of the 90s with a dash of alternative rock guitar added to the recipe. Nice trumpet work though and this tracks sounds a lot like Fishbone only not nearly as good as their debut EP from 1985. "Jumping" has some great jazzy guitar work from Spruance although Patton doesn't quite pull off the Ethel Merman thing with his scatting. The track "( )" (no, Sigur Ros didn't come up with that!) is probably my favorite as Trevor Dunn displays his full bass playing fury as does Spruance churn out the most funkified guitar riffs that turn into heavy funk metal. Also Patton seems to have mastered his vocals and overall the track is just more interesting and varied. It sounds more professional and closer to the avant-garde funk metal prowess of the debut album. It's also a sneak preview into the world of progressive rock with some wickedly cool time signature deviations and compositional fortitude.

There are two versions of this demo. The first was released as a cassette and meant to be what it was released as: a demo. It contained twelve tracks from "For No Reason" to "Freight Train." The popularity of the band in the 90s found the demand for their demos to be re-issued so lo and behold a CD version emerged in 1997 with five extra unreleased tracks with cute names like "Far In A Bag" and "Snap, Crackle, Pop." Although an improvement and a welcome stylistic shift from their lackluster death metal days, BOWEL OF CHILEY is a long way from prime time and finds the band able to write a few catchy songs, most of the tracks come off as amateurish and mediocre. Add to that that they still haven't mastered the art of performing them. Patton's vocals are particularly awful and he hadn't quite learned the techniques he was grasping for. An interesting historical artifact for those who wish to dig deep but not really of interest for anyone else.

2.5 rounded down

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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