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Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante CD (album) cover


Mr. Bungle



4.02 | 225 ratings

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5 stars Following the demise of Faith No More, the genius frontman Mike Patton returned to his original band Mr. Bungle. The issued an eponymous debut that was weird enough to faze even fans of FNM. Then, he crafted Disco Volante. Patton forged a commercial bomb with this daunting, impenetrable, and unsettling album, and he knew it. For him, it was all part of the fun. The sheer number of musical genres crammed into each second of space is mind- boggling; death metal combines with jazz, but not in the way fans of Atheist and Cynic are used to. Techno, Eastern music, 50s R&B, and grindcore also enter the fray. For anyone with the resolve to give this repeated listens, a treasure trove of musical ingenuity awaits.

"Everyone I Went to High School Is Dead" upends the preconception of what death metal can be. It processes the prog-death of Death and Cynic through the vintage speakers of a stoner metal band like Kyuss, producing a sludgy, mid-paced song that contains the fury of death without the speed. The eerie vocals only add to the sense of dread that has by now entered your veins.

"Chemical Marriage" is a bit of a bland follow-up, though its abrupt switch of style grabs attention. "Carry Stress in the Jaw" is where the band truly lets loose, with morbid lyrics recalling Angel Dust era Faith No More, though the lyrics aren't Patton's. The song goes from a creepy atmosphere that erupts into a furious jazz number before transforming once more into Napalm Death-style grindcore, then ending in a bizarre Beach Boys surf-rock style with Patton's narration. Patton once again proves himself to be the most versatile singer ever as he goes from whispers to shrieks without pause.

"Desert Search For Techno Allah" completely abandons comprehension with a bizarre tale over electronic arabic music. "Violenza Domestica" features Patton warbling in Italian. Dex F. says the lyrics involve a father who takes out his child's tongue. So...there you have it...

"After School Special" deceives the listener as the narrator lists all the kind things his mother said to and did for him. Suddenly, he yells "You lied to me!" and the song gives way to a beyond-creepy baby voice that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. "Phlegmatics" sounds like King Crimson on some serious narcotics, with its dissonance and tone.

" Ma Meeshka Mow Skowz" showcases Patton's method of making noise with his throat over singing. "The Bends" is the highlight of the album, with its underwater journey complete with truly avant-garde arrangements. "Backstrokin' " helps to ease off The Bends with psychedelic organ. "Platypus" is yet another song that displays why Patton is the genius that he his. Funky bass under a crushing riff, with Patton using his voice like an instrument that would only be played in Mr. Bungle. As The T says, he leaves his mark.

"Merry Go Bye" closes the album with Beach Boys vibes that belie the suicidal lyrics. Suddenly, we are treated to more grind-death which eventually gives way to some truly graceful lines from Mike. An incredible way to close the album.

Disco Volante is not for the faint of heart. Mike Patton's mission statement is to unsettle his audience; while in FNM he deliberately tried to alienate his MTV fans. The record challenged the norm in a time where rock had finally been conquered by the industry, where grunge had given way to an immense void filled by bands designed to make corporations money. Patton, the man who, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, and his mates in Faith No More, helped to pioneer rap metal, firmly thrusts his middle finger in the direction of the host of second rate imitators rising up to cash in on his legacy. Disco Volante is possibly the most defiant record of the 90s, and it brings a much needed rebellious attitude to prog. Highly recommended.

Grade: A-

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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