Mutation – Dark Black (Mutation III)

Mutation - Dark Black artworkA couple of years ago Ginger Wildheart unleashed two albums, The Frankenstein Effect and Error 500, featuring an assortment of guest musicians under the name Mutation exploring more extreme elements of the Wildhearts frontman’s song writing.

Now in the first weekend of 2017, hot on the heels of the unconnected Fuck You Brain single, at the now customary time of 5:55 on a Friday evening, Mutation III aka Dark Black was released into the world through the Round Records campaign on crowd funding site PledgeMusic.

From the off Dark Black doesn’t mess around with Ginger and his co-conspirator here, Exit International/Jaws Of Deaf’s Scott Lee Andrews, hitting us with jagged extreme metal guitars and brutal blast beats from the off.

The line up for this album is slightly less broad than the previous efforts which gives it a more singular feel, but it still features Devin Townsend and Phil Campbell along with regular Ginger collaborators Givvi Flynn and ‘Random’ Jon Poole. The presence of Townsend is certainly noticeable as throughout there is something of a Strapping Young Lad feel to the noise.

Ginger Wildheart
Ginger Wildheart

The opening three tracks, Authenticity, Toxins and Devolution, merge together without a pause for breath in their shredding guitars and multilayered, barked vocals which render it nearly unintelligible but packed with the kind of spirit and energy that still makes it clear what’s being said.

Irritant gives us the nearest thing Mutation are ever likely to produce to a single, though I doubt this will ever be finding its way anyway near the pop charts, with strong hints of what has made Ginger’s poppier stuff so catchy added into the mix – along with a barrage of expletives.

The rest of the album continues this kind of dense tech-death, indie-punk noise that sounds like the aforementioned SYL and British rockers Reuben having a knife fight in a vat of flesh melting acid, while some moments clearly share DNA with The Wildheart’s Endless, Nameless and lyrically there are points that brought to mind John Cooper Clarke.

Scott Lee Andrews
Scott Lee Andrews

All that said for me it is the most accessible of the three Mutation albums to date, though that may say more about me than the record.

Dogs feels like a rousing climax to the album before Deterioration rounds off half an hour or so of unremitting intensity with a truly thunderous driller-killer-chainsaw-massacre climax of a track.

This horror movie comparison seems particularly fitting for the album as a whole as Dark Black feels like a Nightmare In A Damaged Brain of a record that gives the listener a view into a place they may not want to visit but that is strangely satisfying with it.

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