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Mushroomhead | XX | review | mask | metal | Lollipop


XX (Universal)
by Scott Hefflon

Yeah, who didn't see this one coming... When they were still unsigned, Mushroomhead was booking full page, full color ads making all kinds of wild claims (truth is, you don't have to fabricate quotes when so many "journalists" will fall all over themselves to say outrageously favorable things about any semi-interesting creative endeavor in hopes of getting quoted in ads, on posters, or whatever. Honestly, seeing as they're getting paid to help us determine what's worth our money and what's not, and seeing as all they're doing is giving 80% of everything "thumbs up!" and calling useless drivel "riveting!," why not organize a lynch mob and collectively demand reimbursement for the money wasted on yet another over-hyped turd? Truth in paid advertising is one thing, but a review by a "journalist" is supposed to help us navigate an increasingly cluttered mall of a world, and if they paid for their blatant lies with a good ol' fashioned punch in the face, maybe we could thin the herd a little, ya know?).

That, I believe, is called getting off the point...

The point here is that Mushroomhead spent a lot of money to get where they are. They have the look (the font, the masks, etc.), they have the sound and style (separate from songs, but we'll get to that), and honestly, they have the good sense to overcompensate for the kinda dumb genre they've chosen to pursue by adding all kinds of bells'n'whistles into the mix. Literally. Remember when Ministry was a big deal cuz they added samples to repetitive metal riffs? Well, now that that's mundane, Mushroomhead have added death metal roar, icy detachment, loony narration, Psycho keyboard eeriness, and rap metal bombast. Like emo, these guys realized that if ya can't do anything well, the least you can do is try to distract attention away from that fact by doing A LOT of simple tricks. After all, music is entertainment, right? So are these clowns fun to watch and quite engaging, drawing you in, throwing you around? Sure. Are they doing anything better or new or even all that different? Hell no. But people are stupid. Clawfinger did this better years ago and most nü metalheads probably don't even know who they are. But they never had the money behind them like these guys. So sure, get this reissue-with-a-couple-bonus-tracks cuz it's probably at the mall, but understand that this is the Campbell's Soup of metal. Thin, strained and processed, but affordable and readily available. But if ya want something with taste and quality, something that'll really knock your senses for a loop, something even other cooks admit is damn good stuff, well, you gotta dig, kids...

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