Album Reviews: Something Weird

  • (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.
  • I've reviewed these guys before, and liked them. Well, that hasn't changed. The Mugshots' brand of prog is clearly something new and different, but it's definitely prog. Yes, it's on the AOR side. Yes, it wanders towards the metallic edged stuff of acts like Giant Squid. It's quite effective however you label it, though.

    Track by Track Review

    Introitus
    There is a bit of a punk rock energy to this. The keyboards bring the prog, but the other melodic elements do so, as well. There is even a bit of a Rush edge to this short instrumental in the closing section.
     
    The Circus
    Imagine combining emo with a Rush kind of sound. Add in some space rock and other elements and you'll be in the right territory here. This is high energy, AOR prog. It's very cool. The bridge is a bit theatrical, but also very much purely prog.
     
    Rain
    The energized cut is perhaps less proggy than the previous two numbers. There is a drop back section at the end, though, that's very much spacey prog.
     
    I Am an Eye
    With a lot of metal in the mix, this is incredibly heavy and rather slow. It reminds me a lot of Giant Squid. This is crunchy and yet so proggy.
     
    An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2
    Hard edged and yet very trippy and proggy, this is another great cut. It has a lot of AOR prog at its core. There are some great hooks and shifts and changes.
     
    Ophis
    This instrumental is high energy and often leans toward heavy metal. Yet, it's decidedly prog in a lot of ways, too.
     
    Sentymento
    There is a bit more of a dark, punky element to this. Yet, it's still prog rock and space based a lot of the time.
     
    Scream Again
    Mellower modes bring this into being and it works out gradually from there. As this builds it gets into some seriously metallic stuff at times. Here is another cut that really earns comparisons to Giant Squid.
     
    Grey Obsession
    This is especially cool. It has some folk prog in it, along with some space rock. Overall, though, it's a psychedelic wonder.
     
    Dusk Patrol
    Harder rocking, this is classy modern prog.
     
    Pain
    This one is more metallic in a lot of ways. Still, it has enough prog to keep it from landing as full on metal tune. This is a slow moving number, but gets faster paced and more fierce late in the number.
     
    Ubique
    The closing instrumental is a great example of modern melodic prog with a hard edge.
  • (TRANSLATED FROM GERMAN)
     
    The MUGSHOTS are simply something different. Something unusual, bizarre, exuberant and at the same time adorned with a quirk of extravagance. Their music is like a wild dance through a colorful illuminated suburb, which also leads through dark alleys. This is Independent Heavy Rock. This is Dark Rock.

     
     
    Still, THE MUGSHOTS are by no means comparable to the latest ones who walked the gloomy alleys, such as IN SOLITUDE or BEASTMILK. They are more like an evil fairground version of INTERPOL. Or the enduring Joker in the BIG ELF costume. But Neil Peart's memories gladly show themselves in Gyorg II's drumming, while Priest's guitar sounds like Alex Lifeson's, Tony Iommi's or, alternatively, Peter Buck's and keyboardist Erik Stayn's keys, never in the background, let out their horrific roar. 
     
    All of them are in disguise. Singer Mickey E.Vil first, along with his unmistakeable flourishing vocals in the style of idols like ALICE COOPER and OZZY OSBOURNE. Musically, on the other hand, we don't simply meet BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and R.E.M. with morbid sounds, we can even listen to exquisite guest stars such as Steve Sylvester (DEATH SS), Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan (VENOM INC) and Matt Malley (COUNTING CROWS) with – on top of this crazy picture – a composition by MAYFAIR's rEnE coming straight from the “Schlage mein Herz, schlage...” recording sessions.
     
    Although the band was established, according to legend, back in 2001 by singer Mickey E.Vil on a New York trip while listening an Alice Cooper album, only two full-length works are available. At the same time, the collaboration with the legendary producer Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Ray Manzarek, KISS, AEROSMITH) also culminated in an EP recorded with his assistance, not only in compositional terms.
     
    You can't miss the third album "Something Weird", produced by Freddy Delirio (DEATH SS) . A sparkling diamond, glittering out from the stinking sewer of every metropolis, a joyous dance over the gleaming surface of mud-covered dark streets of every city.
     

     

  • I'm wary of anything willing to describe itself as weird. Surely that's a title that should be bestowed upon you, rather than being self anointed? However with Italy's The Mugshots using their latest album, Something Weird, as a way to celebrate their fifteenth year together, we can only hope their longevity will ensure they know what they're talking about.
     
    You'll never be able to accuse these guys of playing it safe, or for lacking diversity, but then neither would you call them wild and wacky for the sake of it. That however doesn't stop some elements of Something Weird verging on quirky, while some could be described as plainly lacking focus. To be fair, why should this lot conform? If you want goth rock, it's here. If you fancy some 80s synth, then you can have that too. Pop? Punk? Rock? Kitchen sink? Yes, let's throw all of them in there and see what happens. In the event, what does occur is that "I Am An Eye" sounds like REM jamming with Type O Negative and "Ophis" comes across as though Rob Zombie had the blood sucked from his mojo by a Jean Michel Jarre synth soundtrack. Whereas "Grey Obsession" feels like a piss-take of George Harrison at his most mystical, while "Dusk Patrol" would appear to be a mean, moody introduction to some horror-fantasy concept piece that simply never arrives. In all their bouncy 'fun', the songs actually deal with the world and how, well, horrible it is. Topics such as the greyness of life or the over population of the planet, covered… Maybe weird ain't such a bad way to convey what's going on here after all.
     
    With the anniversary in mind, a plethora of guests are invited to the party, members of Death SS, Delirium, Necromass and Counting Crows, amongst others, involved, and while I don't want to pop the band's party balloon, maybe it's this type of scattergun approach that ultimately scuppers their album's chance of sounding like much more than a good bit of knockabout fun. Which, of course, there's nothing wrong with. We all deserve some fun, but personally I like mine to be a little more inclusive than that presented here, the overall feeling being that The Mugshots are happy to look at their own smiling faces and not worry too much if anyone else is coming along for the ride.

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