Album Reviews: Something Weird
(TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH)The band surprising world will attract the musical originality lovers, a hybrid rock with punk tones, gothic hints, psychedelic notes, doom vibrations, progressive variations, an unlikely mix between Alice Cooper, The Stranglers and the doom-prog style of the Black Widow Records team. This kaleidoscope sound has the merit of being well produced. It is pure sophisticated Rock'n'Roll.The Circus is keyboards and guitars, it sounds like those of the Stranglers. I Am An Eye is epic for its keyboards enhanced by metal guitars in setting in sound and rhythm.With its variations An Embalmer's Lullaby put forward more the Prog aspect that can have the formation when the guitars meet a break with the classical instrumentation of this genre, as the instrumental Ophis, with tempo variation, electro keys, guitar solo, all staged in a progressive way. The melodic side of some chorus serves titles made to seduce an extended rock audience.Scream Again mixes the sounds of the 70's synths and guitars chords changed between the coldness of Cold wave of the 80s and the heaviness of the present Metal.Gray Obsession, Dusk Patrol, Pain…bear out the progressive genre with odd sounds, these different notes creating surreal moments.A surprising rock, interpreted in a theatrical way, really original with a kind of animal vibrations.
(TRANSLATED FROM RUSSIAN)The Mugshots are quite original, with their irresistible predilection for Alice Cooper's stuff and the excitement through which they shift the heritage of the king of Shock Rock into a new way through the prism of Italian Progressive Rock plus modern Heavy mainstream. "Something Weird" is the third album by The Mugshots, released - which is characteristic - exactly on the eve of Halloween.It's not a secret - "Shock Rock" is not a style, rather a peculiar image. It consists of the shocking behavior of musicians on stage, their slightly theatrical performances and lyrics, narrating the life and adventures of different dark personalities. These influences have not been bypassed by The Mugshots. In the case of the "Something Weird" album, you will receive a booklet that is partially in the American comic book tradition, with lyrics about the touring "clowns" (Circus), all sorts of outsiders ("Rain" and "I Am an Eye"), maniacs ("Pain") and fatal love ("Sentymento"). However, the plots of the lyrics leave room for interpretation. But, as you know, they agree on clothes...Talking about the new material, we should start with the fact that the album was produced by Dick Wagner, Alice Cooper's guitarist from the days of "Welcome to My Nightmare", and mastering was done by Freddy Delirio, a member of the famous Death SS band. In general, the creation of "Something Weird" was made through twelve invited musicians - from the experienced rocker Steve Sylvester to the veteran of the Italian pop scene Enrico Ruggeri. Someone performed a guitar solo, someone played the keyboards, and someone sang. Vocalist by The Mugshots Mickey "E.Vil" is inclined to arrogance and excessive theatricality, he easily gets used to the role of his characters, and not always easily gets out of it, although he changes the manner of performance depending on the theme of the song. So, for example, from the frenzied fairy madness of "Circus" he easily switches to the melancholy "An Embalmer's Lullaby pt.II" but the depth of the romantic "Sentymento" (partially written in Italian) is still given by the voice of Signor Ruggeri, a partner with whom Mickey performs this great Goth-Rock number. Keyboards play an important role in the album. Most often they are used to create a gloomy "cinematic" atmosphere, as it can be heard in the introduction of "I Am an Eye". But further in the same composition they perfectly support the spirit of disco retro-Rock, which is easily managed by The Mugshots. The team can boast of the composer's talent, as a demonstration you have the whole instrumental track "Ophis", a dynamic number with characteristic keyboard parts and a stunning solo on its own. The vocals in it would be superfluous.On the second half of the album, when the picture is - it would seem - already clear, the Italians unexpectedly distinguish themselves with the hypnotic psychedelic composition, carrying an oriental motif, "Grey Obsession". On it you will hear the flute, fretless bass and even the theremin. And that is not all! "Dusk Patrol" is literally an instrumental scene, erected by The Mugshots for Tony Dolan, bass player and vocalist of British heavy metal bands Atomkraft and Venom. From this pulpit, he extremely convincingly predicts the destruction of mankind. Well, at first this Rock carnival seemed like a simple entertainment, but with further careful consideration it is necessary to note the purpose with which the band approached the recording of "Something Weird". This is a carefully thought-out, diverse album, albeit not without Pop elements.
Although some tracks out of the twelve are pretty disposable it is in the main a very enjoyable and totally fun album with some intricate instrumental embelishments both in support of the lead vocals and also too moments of “gung-ho” progressive rock autonomy. The first question that crosses your mind is whether the band have a clear musical direction but you recognize extremely quickly that what you are listening to here is a band with huge theatrical intentions a band who are modeling their musical output on a big slice of audience participation. Actually, besides the stupid band name, the first realization of this theoretical intent is apparent right from the start of the first track when they, almost absent mindedly, sling in a bar or so of the Genesis classic “Watcher of the Skies”. I would imagine that going to see this band live would be quite an experience and an evening to remember because even here on this album there is something special about the band personality that comes to the fore.Not knowing anything at all about the band and simultaneous to this review I carried out a quick internet check which revealed that “The Mugshots” from Brescia, Italy are a band derived from the same mold as the theatrically horror drenched “Screaming Lord Sutch / Alice Cooper ” school of rock. Such blood curdling embelishments have set down a clear path for both their recording output and stage productions. The music in itself is a mixture of various pop, rock, indie and punk styles but quite cleverly they incorporate a full on progressive feel to their music which gives them a distinctly versatile edge over those similar bands who employ only a basic rock’n roll format. With the “Mugshots” their songs tend to follow a basic upbeat rock arrangement during the vocal stage of the proceedings but then what follows is some glorious keyboard assaults to expand the music out to a much more interesting and higher level. The creepy blood soaked vocals, in the main, are a bit daft but are certainly constructed from a fun perspective and I would imagine would delight the gig fraternity as they join in in full vocal support. As mentioned previously there is a slight imbalance between the mostly excellent tracks and those which are not quite up to the mark, never-the-less the lead singer Mickey E.Vil is excellent throughout all of the twelve tracks with his expressive and interesting vocal style.Summary: A totally superb fun drenched album with blood curdling intent.Artwork: A fully detailed information packed CD insert the cover of which includes an original band portrait produced by the renowned comic artist Enzo Rizzi...
Italian dark rockers The Mugshots released their latest opus of progressive / punk / doom metal / soundtrack / black metal / new wave / pop music in October 2016, marking their 15th anniversary as a band. In addition to the five band members — Mickey E.Vil (vocals, synths), Erik Stayn (keyboards), EyeVan (bass), Gyorg II (drums), and Priest (guitars) — The Mugshots enlisted an all-star team of guest musicians: Matt Malley (Oscar and Grammy nominated Counting Crows founding member), Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (Venom Inc., Atomkraft), Mike Browning (Nocturnus AD), Steve Sylvester (Death SS), Freddy Delirio (Death SS, H.A.R.EM.), Martin Grice (Delirium), Manuel Merigo (In.Si.Dia), Ain Soph Aour (Necromass), Andrea Calzoni (Psycho Praxis), and Enrico Ruggeri (Decibel).
The first three tracks, “Introitus,” “The Circus,” and “Rain,” segue seamlessly and are basically one long song with gothic, pop-psych, hard rock, and metal influences with an 80s vibe. “I Am an Eye” is pure gothic rock featuring keyboard wizard Freddy Delirio on cathedral organ. “An Embalmer’s Lullaby Part 2” sounds like a Voltaire song title, but is more of a metal rock song with Psycho Praxis’ Andrea Calzoni contributing, with the refrain “Waiting for the cold embrace” standing out. “Ophis” is an excellent instrumental track with an 80s vibe. Enrico Ruggeri contributes some sleazy vocals to the gothic “Sentymento.” Next is the gothic western tune “Scream Again,” with contributions from Steve Silvester, Freddy Delirio, and Ain Soph Aour, reminding me a bit of Fields of Nephilim without the gluttural vocals, The song ends with demonic screaming and a great organ solo. The excellent and trippy psych “Grey Obsession” features Matt Malley, Martin Grice, and Mike Browning. This song has a mid-Eastern vibe and is quite different from the other songs on this album. Another excellent track is “Dusk Patrol” with Tony Dolan, a progressive / gothic hybrid with evil recited lyrics. “Pain” with Manuel Merigo has a neo-Krautrock sound similar to Werner Nadolny’s Jame. And the album closes with the excellent progressive electronic instrumental “Ubique.” So there you have it in a nutshell. An excellent album for those who enjoy a mixing of musical genres.
(TRANSLATED FROM PORTUGUESE)
Black Widow Records is the home of Progressive, Doom and 70's music! This release comes out a little bit from the historical peculiar productions. However, with The Mugshots from Italy and their latest album Something Weird, which is a way to celebrate their fifteen years together, we can only hope their longevity will ensure they know what they are talking about. I am really shocked, especially because it comes from Black Widow. If you want Gothic Rock, you have it here. If you like some 80's synthesizer, then you can have that too. Pop, Punk, Ska. It's more like a release for a label such as Epitaph rather than Black Widow. If you listen to "I Am An Eye", it recalls something betweeen REM and Type O Negative and during "Ophis" White Zombie will appear. “Grey Obsession” (Matt Malley, Martin Grice, Mike Browning) has something mystic, almost languid, while "Dusk Patrol" recalls something related to horror. Ok, the theme Horror Rock is part of the label and that was what was expected of the band. But horror can be found only in the lyrics, not in the music. With the anniversary in mind, a multitude of guests are invited to the party: members of Death SS, Delirium, Necromass and Counting Crows among others involved. But only the first band mentioned honor the true Horror Rock.
The Mugshots is a band based in Italy, with a wide range of influences from Alice Cooper and Joy Division, to prog rock and black metal. This has bled into to their music and stage presence, with crime stories swinging through the lyrics, and an affinity for theatrics. Having worked with renowned producer Dick Wagner in the past, they have now teamed up with Freddy Delirio and many others to create their latest album, Something Weird. Guests on the album include Matt Malley (Counting Crows), Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan (Venom Inc., Atomkraft), Mike Browning (Nocturnus AD) and many others.The album kicks off with an almost happy-go-lucky vibe, with playful keys playing over a non-threatening rock beat, and vocals reminiscient of Alice Cooper. The slightly creepy nature of the vocals plays well with the happier, theatrical-sounding music, to create a sound that is easy-going, while still being quite rocky, but also a wee bit unsettling.Something Weird seems to be a mix of this style, and more conventional (albeit it very well written) rock beats. It is almost like a mix of shock-rock, pop and horror. All in all, it works very well, together with the music sounding like it would lend itself well to something like The Circus Of Horrors theatre show. However, it should be noted that the album gets progressively darker and more rock orientated as it goes on.It flows well, with some tracks blending into the others seamlessly, as well as the evolving sound, to create a well-rounded album that hits all the right notes for fans of shock-rock styled music. There is also an element of guitar driven pop too it, so think Alice Cooper meets Avatar with a dash of The Killers thrown in. Don't expect a pop record from it however, this is definitely a rock album, and a fine one at that.7.5 out of 10
This thunderbolt of contemporary rock produced by a quintet of young Italian fire pissers should be, in a just world, in rotation at every big city megawatt FM station calling itself R-O-C-K. But The Mugshots are too weird for that. The use of keyboards and analog synths, themes of alienation and occasionally dark harmonic gestures would confound the advertisers and cheap seats.
The opening three tracks are presented as a continuous suite, “Grey Obsession” featuring trap percussions, flute, Theremin and fretless bass manned by Matt Malley, who earned a meritorious career in Counting Crows.
In a certain light, singer Mickey Evil's tart nasal tenor recalls the late Harry Nilsson. Erik Stayn's synths, whether urgently warbling an analog sequence or padding polyphonic orchestration, are always tastefully and creatively integrated.
For ears attuned to, uh, “conventional” prog lucubration, one may wonder where “normal” terminates and “weird” commences. But either way, The Mugshots have created a fun, heavy disc with expansive sound and extended rock vocabulary.
(TRANSLATED FROM DUTCH)“Weird” is definitely what you can hear and see on Something Weird (absurd cover artwork) by the Mugshots. At first I thought I'd feel just a post-punk or post-new wave sound with influences that include the Stranglers and with some Alice Cooper never too far away. These elements are definitely there in these12 tracks, but gradually I sensed some prog elements, influences given by Erik Stayn's keyboards. Overall, I like it. Excellent musicians, an excellent singer in the person of Mickey E.Vil and catchy songs. Plus a great sound. A nice to work off the stress of the day.
(TRANSLATED FROM GERMAN)
At least a little eccentric – as the album title suggests – is certainly the music from this quintet. This goes on with the names of the musicians, the bass player for instance is named Eye Van while we suspect that the real name should be Ivan. Then come Mickey E.Vil (voice, synth), Erik Stayn (keyboards), Gyorg II (drums) and Priest (guitar). The twelve songs are mainly Hard Rock oriented, sometimes they remind a little of Black Sabbath, sometimes they carefully turn into some light Symphonic-Prog water wakes. But usually they go straight to the point, the tunes never become excessively complex - yet this does not mean that one song sounds like another. No, they certainly surprise us with a couple of nice ideas and you can even meet catchy melodies. From the Prog point of view Something Weird not necessarily is worth mentioning in particular, but fans from 70's Hard Rock will possibly find a bunch of exciting songs by this very unique band.
The Mugshots are a Horror-Rock outfit from Brescia, Italy. The Mugshots were born in 2001 in New York when lead singer Mickey E.Vil was visiting the U.S.A. and listened to a record of “Alice Cooper”. The Mugshots embraced the styles of Horror, Dark and Theatrical Rock, and crime stories have been present on their lyrics from the very start! Their influences come from “Alice Cooper”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “The Misfits”, “Mike Patton”, and Horror Soundtracks, but the band is also inspired by Progressive Rock and Norwegian Black Metal (!). The Mugshots have shared the stage with “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “UK Subs”, “Brian James”, “Hugh Cornwell”, “Tv Smith”, “Baz Warne”, “The Lords Of Altamont”, “Demented Are Go”, “Koffin Kats”, “Zombina & The Skeletones”, among others. The Mugshots has also released demos, songs on compilations, EPs, and full-length albums: “Doctor Is Out” (EP, 2004), “House Of The Weirdos” (2005), “Weird Theater” (2007), “House Of The Weirdos|Weird Theater” (2009, reissue of the first two LPs on one CD) – all via Lombroso Releases. In 2010 The Mugshots released “In Disguise” (EP, Red Vinyl and CD, via Gun Club Management/Alka Records). In 2013 The Mugshots released the EP “Love, Lust and Revenge” (GCM / Black Widow Records / Alka Records), which was produced by Dick Wagner (“Alice Cooper”, “Lou Reed”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Ray Manzarek”, “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”), who also co-wrote, arranged, and played guitars on it. “Love, Lust and Revenge” was reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2013. In 2015 The Mugshots released the digital single “Frozen” (Alka Records) – a Dark Rock version of “Madonna's” song featuring the late “Clive Jones” (from legendary “Black Widow” and “Agony Bag”) on flute and saxophone, on his final performance, as he wished. In the Halloween of 2016 The Mugshots released their third full-length album, “Something Weird” (CD & LP, GCM / Black Widow Records). The line-up forms with Mickey E.Vil (vocals, keyboards), Erik Stayn (keyboards), Eye-Van (bass), Gyorg II (drums), and new member Priest, who has replaced MacFly on guitars. “Something Weird” was produced by Freddy Delirio (“Death SS”) and features Matt Malley (ex-“Counting Crows”, Grammy/Oscar nominated artist), Tony Dolan (“Venom Inc.”), Steve Sylvester, Enrico Ruggeri, and others.
The cover includes an original band portrait done by renowned comic artist Enzo Rizzi. “Something Weird” has 12 tracks. The music covers different styles, mainly Horror-Rock, Punk and Post-Punk, and Dark Music, with a tinge of Dark/Gothic-Prog thrown in (a contribution of the several guest musicians that have played on the record). Although The Mugshots cannot be categorized as an authentic Progressive outfit, their songs are melodic, catchy, theatrical, and sometimes elaborated on the arrangements. But some songs can be quite surprising, unexpected items on an album made by a band with the non-pretentious, plain Rock orientation that The Mugshots want to follow on! The “back-to-basics” repertoire on “Something Weird” includes: the instrumental opening intro “Introitus” (1:14) and “The Circus” (5:15) – an Horror-Rock with Punk humor, driven by binary drums, a bass drive reminiscent of “Hawkwind’s” proto-Punk Space-Rock, and a backing layer of “clown-circus” synths; “Rain” (4:23), which is almost a continuation of the previous, but having female backing vocals and some “R.E.M.” and “Smashing Pumpkins” melancholy instilled within; and “Sentymento” (3:04) (feat. singer E. Ruggeri) – a crude Dark-Punk propelled by powerful Rocking energy and irresistible bass grooves! The most theatrical and expressive facet of The Mugshots shows off on “An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2” (3:39) (feat. Andrea Calzoni on flute), which is rhythmically a NWOBHM, but including fast waving synths and a surprising Folk-Medieval middle part, ending with an enigmatic sound of musical box; and on “Grey Obsession” (4:27) (feat. Matt Malley on fretless bass, Martin Grice on flute, Mike Browning on percussion and Theremin) – this one a typical late 60’s/early 70’s Dark Psychedelic Rock immersed on a “black mass” atmosphere, in the vein of “Black Widow”, “Coven”, “Bram Stoker”, and “Ultimate Spinach”.
But the first songs to really surprise me were “I Am an Eye” (5:49) (feat. Freddy Delirio on keyboards) and “Scream Again” (5:32) (feat. Freddy Delirio; with Steve Sylvester & Ain Soph Aour sharing vocals). Both are Horror-Rock songs with a lean to Doom-Metal, being conveyed on a slow cadence, like a funeral march, surrounded by Gothic keyboards and immersed in a trippy and gloomy atmosphere of a pagan ritual, like a mix of “Black Sabbath” and “Black Widow”. These dark vibes are extended to “Dusk Patrol” (2:08), which has fuzzy synths and tribal drumming sided by Tony Dolan’s narration of the Apocalypse – the perfect intro for the startling and most surprising “Pain” (4:45) – the only true Progressive song of the album (resembling “Pallas” or “IQ”), which has two amazingly epic guitar solos – the first, by Priest; the second, by Manuel Merigo.
The album also has two good instrumental pieces: “Ophis” (4:24), which sounds like a blend of “Hawkwind” and “Joy Division”; and “Ubique” (4:08), a kind of electronic ballad that grows with heavy guitar riffs and then dwindles to a delicate plucking. Overall, “Something Weird”, by The Mugshots, is an outstanding album within the Dark, Horror & Theatrical Rock segments, featuring solid players and surprises, being greatly recommended for fans of “Alice Cooper”, “The Misfits”, “Lou Reed”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “Mike Patton”, “Death SS”, “Hawkwind”, “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Coven”, “Bram Stoker”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in The Mugshots are: Mickey E.Vil - Vocals & Synths; Erik Stayn – Keyboards; Priest – Guitar; Eye-Van – Bass; Gyorg II – Drums. Special Guests: Freddy Delirio – Keyboards (“I Am an Eye” & “Scream Again”); Andrea Calzoni - Flute (“An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2”); Enrico Ruggeri – Lead Vocals (“Sentymento”); Steve Sylvester – Lead Vocals; Ain Soph Aour – Screams, Whispers (both on “Scream Again”); Matt Malley – Fretless Bass, Martin Grice – Flute, Mike Browning – Percussion, Theremin (all three on “Grey Obsession”); Tony Dolan – Narration (“Dusk Patrol”); Manuel Merigo – Second Guitar Solo (“Pain”); Francesca Scalari – Backing Vocals (“Rain”, “Scream Again”); Leda Stella – Backing Vocals (“An Embalmer’s Lullaby Pt. 2”, “Scream Again”). Past Member: MacFly – Rhythmic Guitar. Album Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Freddy Delirio at FP Recording Studio, Lammari, Italy; Additional Recordings by Francesco Invernici (Omicron Studio, Capriolo, It); Alessandro Venzi (AV Studio, Brescia, It); Priest (Unreal Studio, Brescia It). Cover Comics Portrait by Enzo Rizzi; Additional Comics by Stefano Alghisi. Produced by Freddy Delirio...
Remember The Mugshots, whose previous album from 2013 Love, Lust And Revenge we actually enjoyed. We must recall that the combo took advantage of the aid of Dick Wagner for the production and for some guitar parts, the guy from Alice Cooper and Lou Reed. The Mugshots are made of of five musicians who live in Italy, although the genesis of the band is american and their monicker comes from a song by Alice Cooper, a big favourite of the band.Their latest effort, Something Weird, has a cover a-là Cramps sketched by Enzo Rizzi, author of comic books about Rock. The famous Freddy Delirio of Death SS and H.A.R.E.M. had the difficult task of replacing Wagner for the production of this LP recorded in Tuscany.The Mugshots' career knew a honorable hard work, as we can see they have just celebrated their first fifteen years of existence. The line-up is always composed by the great Mickey E.Vil (voice), Henry Lee on guitar, ND on drums and Eric STAYN on keyboards.These happy serial killers, fond of crimes and horror have the same commercial background of Alice Cooper. This album offers a pleiad of guests from different formations, among which we find Psycho Praxis, Necromass, Nocturnus AD, Venom Inc, Death SS, etc.The album opens with an instrumental piece rightly called Introitus, played with a Punk energy, a good keyboard oriented New-Wave and a martial drum who very much recalls The Stranglers. The guitar intro of The Circus carries and aggresive side that brings us back (willingly) to the étrangleurs. The voice of Mickey E.Vil contributes heavily with the intonation similar to Alice Cooper and with dark laughter a-là Vincent Price. Rain is on the same frequency.I Am An Eye begins with the boombastic keyboards played by Freddy Delirio. Keyboards are definitely there for the duration of the piece, the guitar and is very heavy, Black Sabbath, and the piece has always an atmosphere from infamous road that continues on Embalmer's Part 2.Ophis brings us back to the guitar sound, extremely heavy-sabbathian with a gothic add. The keyboards seem almost ro interfere and despite this they make the atmosphere more joyful. The opus keeps always hammered by the drums and the rage of the guitar, which fills this instrumental piece with a rather contagious fever. Sentymento and its heavy drums layed on a carpet of keyboards recalling a pre-ambient ENO, vocals which give goose bumps; this infamous alley is neverending: here is a song in full Bauhaus style. It is actually true that Mickey's style is similar to the excellent Peter Murphy. Scream Again carries a little bit of calm. Grey Obsession has a folkloristic side thanks to a beautiful flute placed on the nasal voice of the preacher in office.Once again, a start a-là Eno for Ubique, the last piece which is instrumental. A true jewel, a diamond.The Mugshots have made great strides and charm us with their theatrical Rock headed by a singer with the talent of an actor. Songs with a dramatic sound with atmosphere that flirt with Gothic, New-Wave, Hard Rock, everything on the setting of a dark street populated by dodgy creatures.
I am not too sure about this band’s name. In my book it spells more punk than anything else. Or at worst some old tired rehash of a Status Quo sound of yesteryears. But thankfully the music that comes from this disc isn’t the boring kind I feared. But that doesn’t mean that I know how to describe this. It still isn’t what I expected. I don’t really know what this reminds me of. I get a kinda early Alice Cooper vibe set in a more modern time. I also get an old American fairground feel when I listen to this. If I at first was a bit sceptical towards the band name it all makes sense now. If you can imagine 60s rock mixed with 70s Alice Cooper and with a bucket of late 70s punk attitude then the band name fits. This fits very well into the retro rock that sweeps the world right now. With a sound very much exclusive to this band you are in for a trip.
(TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH)Today we talk about the last release by The Mugshots, entitled "Something Weird". Here is a band coming from Italy and "Something Weird" is their third album in 15 years of existence. For this new project, the five musicians are surrounded by a dozen of external partners, more or less known in the music scene. They come especially from scenes such as Rock, Prog, Death Metal and Black Metal! This in order to bring some variety and visibility to the project. That is the taget of the Mugshots giving the album more or less success, as we shall see later. Not AYREON wants.When visiting the group's web page, it looks like the page of a punk band so imagery is reminiscent of punk/wave bands like MISFITS. Exactly, what about the musical influences of the band? They say they are very influenced by ALICE COOPER. They consider making theatrical Punk, Dark Rock and AOR Prog, which describes well what we hear throughout the album.Now let's start with the listening. After a short intro, here comes "The Circus", directly inspired by "Welcome to my Nightmare" by ALICE COOPER, a lot of Rock with a fun atmosphere. Then comes "Rain", another song with a rather basic Rock connotation. The album continues in this way: Rock without too many surprises despite the appearance of guests on nearly every song. "Ophis" is an instrumental Rock piece of good quality which is worth a listen. As its title indicates, "Scream Again" contains Death Metal style vocals in the chorus, but then again composition is stuck in Rock. We arrive at "Gray Obsession" which is probably the closest Prog as it is quieter and we can hear the flute. The strange instrument that is the Theremin makes a brief appearance in the ghastly final. The album ends with "Ubique", another instrumental piece, rather quiet and unpretentious.In conclusion "Something Weird" is a well-produced and well-played Rock album. The inclusion of multiple external collaborators does not bring it any added value for me. Listener friend, if you are a fan of Progressive Rock, this album contains just a little. But if you're looking for an honest Rock album then give it a listen, it can be that you could be sucked into the colorful world of The Mugshots.
Qualcosa di strano; non c'è titolo più adatto per questo disco che la band descrive come theatrical rock. In effetti in modo cangiante ma ottimamente fuso possiamo trovare diversi elementi in quest'album dal mod inglese che ricorda i Jam dell'iniziale Introitus più The Circus al doom, al prog, alla psichedelia. Il cast di ospiti è veramente notevole e la lista è lunghissima: Matt Malley dei Counting Crows, Tony "Demolition Man" (Venom Inc., Atomkraft), Mike Browning (Nocturnus AD), Steve Sylvester (Death SS), Freddy Delirio (Death SS, H.A.R.E.M.), Martin Grice (Delirium), Manuel Merigo (In.Si.Dia), Ain Soph Aour (Necromass), Andrea Calzoni (Psycho Praxis) ed Enrico Ruggeri.
La provenienza da aree musicali così variegate dà l'idea di un'opera multiforme che tuttavia mantiene una sua coesione e un filo narrativo che possiamo ricondurre sotto l'ombrello di un'attitudine libera, fresca ed accattivante. Più che qualcosa di strano, abbiamo qualcosa di fantasioso e fuori dagli schemi, una cosa che non siamo più abituati a riconoscere così frenati dalle categorizzazioni di genere.
Il ritmo allegro in levare e tastiere frizzanti si aggirano dalle parti del prog e dello space rock (Rain) per poi passare al goth e al doom lento e romantico di I Am An Eye con atmosfere nebbiose e morbose guidate da synth che ricordano i Paradise Lost (An Embalmer's Lullaby Part Two) o la migliore dark wave inglese. Questa avvolge l'ascoltatore in un manto di pathos crepuscolare con melodie cullanti (Sentymento) e voci sospese nell'aria (Pain). C'è un'aura stregonesca e leggermente occulta che permea tutto il disco, sia quando vira più verso il metal (Scream Again) che quando si concede a languidi voli pindarici degni degli Hawkwind (Dusk Patrol).
Indubbiamente la lunghissima esperienza di tutti i musicisti coinvolti ha permesso di forgiare musica di qualità e con un suo sapore affascinante e composito. Il raga indiano Grey Obsession dal tenue sapore anni '60 con un flauto seducente e una voce vellutata ci porta in territori onirici. Davvero qualcosa d'interessante.
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