The highly-anticipated return of Mr. Bungle has been discussed at length between Faith No More's comeback and Mike Patton's continuing evolution with various side-projects, but now fans are finally able to hear new recordings from the group for the first time in over 20 years. Along with ex-Slayer drummer and Dead Cross collaborator Dave Lombardo, as well as Anthrax mastermind Scott Ian, original members Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn revived the chaotically experimental project fantastically.(Ipecac)
The re-recording of The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo offers a gleaming take on the rarely heard 1986 release, which showed the promising raw talent of the band albeit through a rather unlistenable sound quality. With years of experience and personal development, the songs are given a second chance at life by a supergroup of proficient legends in metal.
The source material is largely unadulterated, with the new Mr. Bungle lineup paying homage to where the band began. The order of the tracks is shifted and the production quality receives an obvious uptick, but otherwise the record is faithful to the original tracks.
"Anarchy Up Your Anus" still features an ominous narrated intro (re-recorded by Cheers actress Rhea Perlman), but instead of indecipherable thrash metal, the song becomes the punchy whiplash of a track it was always intended to be. This boost in fidelity enhances the quality of the writing, most notably shining a light on the masterpieces that tracks like "Raping Your Mind" or "Sudden Death" really were.
Even the guitar solos roughly mimic the original recordings, well-displayed around halfway through "Bungle Grind." The most prominent change (aside from the production quality) is the general feel of the instrumental delivery: the guitars sound a lot more punchy than before thanks to Spruance and Ian, while the drums have Lombardo's iconic loose thrash style that set Slayer apart from their more tight-knit thrash peers. Dunn's bass playing also cuts through the mix much better than before, allowing for everyone's presence to be felt.
The band includes some surprises for even the most knowledgeable Mr. Bungle fans, too, with a cover of Corrosion of Conformity's "Loss for Words," Stormtroopers of Death's "Speak English or Die" ("Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere"), as well as previously unreleased songs written during this demo's era. They even included a bass line from "Love Is a Fist," off of their 1991 self-titled debut, as a subtle nod to their beginnings. New tracks like "Methametics" bring some classic crossover thrash grooves coupled with speedy mosh parts, while "Eracist" delivers a chugging series of mid-tempo riffs.
Opting to re-record a largely unknown demo is a fitting way to bring closure to Mr. Bungle's catalogue. Further, the inclusion of previously unheard songs makes this feel like a proper new release, as opposed to an excuse to shove a nostalgic name back into the world. In due time, it would be a delight to hear an entirely new record, but for now, Mr. Bungle's career feels more complete than before.
Published Oct 26, 2020 by Joe Smith-Engelhardt