Mr. Bungle, SLUG's October Record Reviews 1991.

Record Reviews: October 1991


Mr Bungle

Warner Bros. 

You say you were lookin’ for something different, never been done before, completely original, zany looney music stuff? Well look no further, Mr. Bungle has arrived.Mr. Bungle originated in Northern California, and have been around since 1985. They released 4 demos before hitting the big time. One thing you must know is that Michael Patton, vocalist for Faith No More, is the vocalist for Mr. Bungle as well. Don’t let the name “Vlad Drac” fool you.

So what do they sound like, you ask? Let me put it to you this way—if you like jazz, funk, metal, listening to a guy take a dump, elevator or carnival music, you’ll like Mr. Bungle. If you like lyrics sicker than 2 Live Crew (The Girls of Porn, Squeeze Me Macaroni), you’ll like Mr. Bungle.

Some crazy effects are added to this extremely well produced album (it sounds darn good), which gives it a little extra push that the demos (at least the one I heard) didn’t have. “Squeeze Me Macaroni” is even crazier, with lots of extra effects thrown in. “My Ass Is On Fire” and “The Girls of Porn” are pleasing as well. Oh, this is some crazy stuff, so be prepared before you have a listen. One never knows how Mr. Bungle will affect you—you may be needing therapy for the rest of your life.




A&M Records

YES. Yes, yes, yes! Oh praise the almighty, life does have meaning!

Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger” is a step above anything they’ve ever done before. Period. Maybe it was the new bass player, Hunter (Ben) Shepherd, who made the difference. Or maybe it was Kim Thayil’s first attempt at writing lyrics that made the difference. Or maybe it’s just the fact that these guys are getting better. Whatever the cause may be, Badmotorfinger will definitely have an effect on people—I know it.

As a whole, the songs are stronger than older Soundgarden—lyrically and musically. I’m not quite sure what exactly it is; if the riffs are better or if the melodies are more complicated. Something about Badmotorfinger is strangely intriguing.

Rusy Cage starts it all off, followed by Outshined. These two songs are most brilliant, especially lyrically. And that’s only the beginning. Also included is Jesus Christ Pose (“That was written about Matt’s drumming”). BUT, Searching With My Good Eye Closed has got to be the best song—”This is my good eye..” Oh yeah! And was it, perhaps, written about a book by Orson Scott Card?

Another fine tune is “Holy Water”–”Holy Water on my brain, I’m losing sleep…” This one has a great melody line, as well as cool lyrics. All these songs are superbly written—this album is excellent. What makes it so great are Chris’ excellent vocals and Kim’s great guitar work. It’s all beautifully tied together. 

Yes, I have seen the light. Badmotorfinger is so much more than I’d expected—or even hoped for. Soundgarden continues to grow musically; it’s such a relief to see a band getting better instead of worse. Badmotorfinger is a great addition to my collection, and it’d better be for yours!


Pale Saints

Flesh Balloon


This 4-song EP is the latest offering from England’s Pale Saints and only enhances their growing catalogue of music. The EP opens with the moody melancholy song “Hunted.” Ian’s vocals sound as if he’s on the brink of tears, holding them back long enough to make his way to the final verse of the song. Emotion pours from the stereo speakers backed by a Pale Saints soundtrack. 

“Porpoise” is an instrumental track with a wide variety of guitar sounds and leads unique to Pail Saints. Combing more electric guitar rhythm with overlays of ringing, melodic guitars that carry the song. The music gives one the feeling of watching a porpoise skinning through the ocean, occasionally leaping into the air unexplained ecstasy.

“Kinky Love,” Pale Saints expands its sounds with vocals by ex-Lusher, Meriel. Her vocals are akin to Ian’s, mellow, with just enough melancholy to turn “Kinky Love” from a sordid love song into a child-like refrain. 

The “Hair Shoes” demo is a more experimental track, allen to “The Colour of the Sky” or “Mother, Might.” Instrumentation is almost a hum in the background more of a landscape for Ian’s voice to float over than actual melody.

Again, Pale Saints have concocted some intriguing and noteworthy guitar pop, leading the way in the ‘90s.


The Stench

Four Before

Flatline Records

Ah, yes! Finally something to ease the pain caused by the disbanding of our hometown trio of wisdom and wonder, The Stench. This effort will be a treasure for those who missed out on the pre-”Crazy Moon” release, 13 ½ song demo, which these four songs appeared originally. Now they have been re-recorded with more energy than ever. Pretty purple packaging, this purple platter will please the darkest of soul.

Believe me, this 7” will tide you over until the next (and Last) stench LP is released in the near future. Advice, BUY IT NOW!!!



Steady Diet of Nothing

Dischord Records

Sporadic, Distorted, tight, noisy, melodic. These are just a few terms to describe the sound of the ever-popular Fugazi. And with the new LP, another word on the description list would be … “Excellent.”

As with their past releases, this latest effort from the outspoken D.D. band contains fury and outrage, both in the music and the lyrics. Co-vocalist, Guy Picciotto, takes a step above his raspy style of moaning, and shows the true extent of his singing ability, as heard in the first track “Exit Only,” which he attempts with a style that vaguely reminds me of a late Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra essence. That’s just a personal judgement, of course. Ian MacKaye has more rage in his vocals than ever, belting out yet more words that you have to read to understand, which sometimes can take awhile. The poetry is a lot deeper in meaning than his previous work.

The guitar works play quite a bit on abstract chord changes and harmonics that always seem to fit together. The overall pace of the songs are more constantly upbeat, which helps out by not creating any strung segments on the LP. You won’t get bored, I promise. Even the last song, entitled “Kyeo,” which lyrics seem to be influenced by the Gulf Crisis, is smoothly written and progressive in melody and beat, leaving you wanting more. 

With a new LP out, you may be wondering, “When’s the tour?” Well, it seems like they decided to hit selected cities in the US before heading out to Australia, thus skipping Salt Lake in the process (or so the rumors have told me). Bum deal for us all. Maybe next time … we hope. 


Wolfgang Press



“May I bring you up to date; we are living in the twentieth century, not in the eighteenth. May I bring you up to date, we are not alive at all …”

This one’s for the dark corners of the dance floor and the shadowy areas of your listening space. Once again the Wolfgang Press has delivered a striking LP, sure to excite your senses and get your feet moving to the upbeat rhythms.

If you’re surprised at the overall funkyness of this new album, then you’ve been out of touch with the Press. From the earlier “hits” “Sweatbox” and “Respect” to later works like “Big Sex” and “Birdwood Cage,” the Press has been shifting their emphasis and influences toward black music, making more rhythmic, danceable tunes that transcend the dance genre and afford great listening pleasure as well.

Queer is their biggest step forward in this direction to date. The Press has taken their moody, stylized music and put it to a rave beat, remaking Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come” as well as adding original songs like “Question of Time,” “Louis XIV,” “Riders On The Heart” and “Fakes & Liars.” You won’t feel trapped into the same beat as those “pop” ravers that are jamming the radio waves with rehashed mixes of what seems like the same song over and over eternally. The Press has a variety of drum patterns tucked in their sleeves and pulls them out magically, one by one, leaving you wondering from where the next song will take off.

And just when you feel comfortable with the LP they throw in some surprises, like the pathetically humorous “Birdie Song,” with its drunken female narrative about a  night of self discovery and sensuality in the midst of the ocean. 

The LP ends with incredible energy, building form the mellower “Birmingham” to the hard hitting climax of “Sucker” and “Mother Valentine.” Every time this LP ends I feel cheated, like there isn’t enough music on it to satisfy my craving for the Wolfgang Press. So I wait patiently for future releases, knowing that nothing will stop the Press. 


The Wait

Screaming Voiceless

This is the debut release from Arizona’s trio, The Wait, a six-song EP building on influences from early Cure material, (not the “pop-star” era Cure, but the dark origins, ala Seventeen Seconds and Faith. You know, the good years), and bringing that feel into the nineties. 

Lead by the vocal and guitar talents of Greg Axe, The Waitmakes fairly straightforward music that lifts the listener into a mass of dark storm clouds, promising a torrent but held back by the control of the band. This abated torrent is supplemented by the bass lines of Michael Baden and the drum and keyboard wizardry of Axe’s wife and third collaborator, Kayre (pronounced “care).

If Robert Smith was the king of moodiness in the early eighties, he long since relinquished his crown. Taking it upon themselves, The Wait makes beautiful and melancholic music without the pretense (and, hopefully, the make-up).

“Screaming Voiceless” begins with the track “Voiceless,” with a steady flowing of the guitar set to a steady drum and bass beat. Axe’s vocals then take charge as he sings the refrain of “Walk on by.” This is one of the more energetic songs on the tape, which shifts tempo throughout as the band cruises through their other originals: “Deceit,” “Seventeen Cents,” “Human Condition,” “Grey Breath” and finish with the climactic “Morning After.” Admittedly, I’ve lost track of the Cure, especially as of late (do they still exist?) But The Wait has captured everything that was good about the band and reworked it to make it their own style. Copies of Screaming Voiceless and info on The Wait are available from Mike Bade, 3130 E. Topeka Dr., Phoenix AZ 85024


Big Money Records

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see this band live at their gig at The Pompadour on September 6th. But the 7” single I’ve got on my turntable (The Best Things In Life/ Killer Instinct) is very cool indeed. 

Though Neomort’s sound is reminiscent of The Melvins meets Celtic Frost, it’s truly unique. Throbbing nasty bass is nicely complemented by simple power percussion and heavy-riff, grinding guitar. Boulder sized gravelly vocals express nihilistic themes (“I hate my job, my friends, my family and myself”). Not your typical adolescent heavy metal, Neomort is not too fast, not too slow and extremely dark.

On clear yellow vinyl, with red lipstick blot on real toilet paper slipped into the front cover, the package and sound fit the name. This effort really makes me want to hear Neomort’s debut album. XOXOX




For more from the SLUG Archives:

Notes From the Industrial Underground: October 1991

Concert Review: Monks Of Doom