Having reunited earlier this year and playing a run of shows across the United States, original Mr. Bungle members Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and Trey Spruance are joined by Scott Ian (Anthrax, S.O.D.) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Dead Cross, Suicidal Tendencies) for the band’s first new music since 1999’s California.
Over the past two decades, the workaholic that is Mike Patton has released a slew of records under different guises, not limited to Tomahawk, Mondo Cane, Dead Cross and Fantômas. Then there’s the small matter of getting Faith No More back together.
While The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo largely focuses on re-workings of the band’s 1986 cassette only self-released demo, Mr. Bungle‘s default position of harpooning any ideas of structure or what actually defines a song has made way for sweaty and straight-to-the-point slabs of noise. A sordid affair between raging ’80s hardcore, skin-flaying speed-metal and unadulterated thrash.
It may put noses out of joint with the offended-by-anything crowd (see titles, Anarchy Up Your Anus, and Spreading the Thighs of Death), but that’s missing the point of the legend that is Mr. Bungle, and indeed, Michael Allan Patton.
A specimen possessing a ceaseless work ethic, Patton‘s sinewy melodies combined with those crackpot howls from the void have made him a pioneer for a generation, influencing alternative culture on so many levels. Pioneers are limitless, playing by their own rules and The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is an extension of this ethos.
The stalking riffs of Grizzly Adams lead into the aptly tightly Anarchy Up Your Anus, narrated by Rhea Perlman as Patton‘s guttural shrieks entangle with Lombardo‘s menacing kick drum.
Songs like Raping Your Mind, Spreading the Thighs of Death and Glutton for Punishment are feverish circle pit anthems with swarming riff-a-rolla that push us towards a spot of bedroom-mirror air guitar. We are in lockdown, after all…
“Speak Spanish or die” screams Patton during the downright banger that is Hypocrites Habla Espanol O Muere – a reinterpretation of the S.O.D. classic cut. A Mediterranean flavoured serving of hardcore and the rail-riding riffs of Patton‘s Tomhawk project.
It’s not the only cover on the album, with the band also giving a telling nod to Corrosion of Conformity’s Loss for Words, putting it through the bespoke Bungle mincer.
The aptly titled Bungle Grind is exactly what it says on the tin with thrashy riffs and hardcore rhythms towering over Patton‘s trademark referee whistles that try to break up this sonic affray that would leave a pub in a far worse state than a group of Hells Angels.
And speaking of, Methematics sounds like a rejuvenated form of biker-metal that many a clubhouse full of leather-jacketed tattoo-laden beardos would welcome as an alternative to, say, the Rollins Band.
Erascist is Mr. Bungle having fun. Easily the most accessible this band gets, it still kicks against the primitive aspects heard in aggressive music in 2020. Given the fact that it’s presented by a bunch of blokes today’s youth would consider as over the hill, it’s a telling reminder that there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.
Whether you are excited by their return or just by the sheer nature of the release, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is something that does nothing but put a smile on your face.
With the wild-eyed (and aptly titled) closer, Sudden Death, Mr. Bungle may be telling us a thing or two, or perhaps in true fashion, they are just fucking with us.
Yes, winter is on its way. Yes, many are climbing the walls in lockdown. Yes, Brexit is looming. Yes, all the nasty things that are set to unravel on the back of these unsavoury events doesn’t bare thinking about. At least Mr. Bungle have provided us with a flicker of light if only for fifty-seven minutes of our lives.
So with that, be kind to yourself and just delve. It won’t be hard to crack a smile if you do. Promise.
The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is out now via Ipecac Recordings.