Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mutation - Error 500

Mutation
Error 500
Independent Release

‘Error 500’ is the companion album to ‘The Frankenstein Effect’, which is a double album effort from Mutation, which is a side project led by Ginger Wildheart (Who is otherwise the mastermind behind The Wildhearts).
Without rehashing too much of what I have written before in my review for ‘The Frankenstein Effect’, all that needs to be said is that Mutation is quite simply Ginger’s experimental foray into the more extreme side of music.
In my previous review, I said that ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ was more than likely going to divide opinions given the diversity of sounds and extremities offered up throughout the album. To be honest, ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ is an album that still has some of Ginger’s trademark sounds, but delivered in a way that sounds unlike anything he’s ever delivered in the past.
But if ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ was something a little different, then ‘Error 500’ is something that truly has to be heard to be believed. Although the first Mutation effort is described as extreme, it pales in comparison to ‘Error 500’. This is one extreme and twisted album, and one that will surely polarize fans even more than ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ could ever hope to.
Opening with a very Wildhearts sounding riff (‘Inglorious’ comes to mind), ‘Bracken’ sounds like a logical follow-up to ‘Carrion Blue’ (The closer from ‘The Frankenstein Effect’) with its unbridled fury and speed. But while there’s plenty of aggression within the tracks, and more than enough twists and turns to make The Dillinger Escape Plan sound accessible, ‘Bracken’ is by far the album most melodic effort, and the perfect segue way into what is one very strange album ahead.
Unlike ‘The Frankenstein Effect’, which was recorded with song ideas and structures already formulated prior to Ginger entering the studio, ‘Error 500’ is a true collaborative effort. And it shows too, with the second track ‘Utopia Syndrome’ coming across as a bizarre mix of jagged time changes, partly mechanical manipulation (Particularly with the clean vocal passages from Ginger) spliced with passages of grindcore and warped melodies laid over some truly quirky noises (Most of which are easily missed might I add). In simple terms, ‘Utopia Syndrome’ sounds like a collection of differing ideas thrown together to make up the one song. But while it sounds all a bit odd, it actually works quite well.
Given Jon Poole’s heavy involvement in the Mutation project, it’s not surprising to find a strong Cardiacs/God Damn Whores influence within the overblown, chaotic and weirdly melodic ‘White Leg’ and its companion piece ‘Sun Of White Leg’, while a track such as ‘Protein’ is far more straight forward sounding in comparison, but still has enough twists and contrasting extremities to keep any listener on the edge of their seat.
Both ‘Mutation’ and ‘Relentless Confliction’ are worthy of singling out purely for the appearance of Mark E. Smith (The Fall) on vocals. His contributions are quite unique (Not unlike his voice), and combined with a little help from Japanese noise musician Merzbow (‘Mutation’), both earn their place as some of the album’s more experimental efforts alongside the electronic manipulation/riff crazed bizarre mash-up heard on ‘Computer, This Is Not What I…’.
Towards the tail end of the album, Ginger returns to the schizophrenic time keeping metal territory of early with the densely layered and occasionally choral led ‘Innocentes In Mortes’ (Which translates to ‘Innocent In Deaths’, and features lead vocals from Luke Dunnell), before finishing things up on a truly experimental note with the industrialised ‘Benzo Fury’ (Which features lead vocals from Young Legionnaire front man Paul Mullen). Although quite different from the rest of the album, the closer is perhaps my favourite from the album because of its notable change in style from what you would otherwise expect from Ginger.
As mentioned earlier, ‘Error 500’ is sure to polarize fans. Some will hate it, while others will no doubt love it. But whatever side you align with, there’s no denying that Ginger has well and truly stepped out of his comfort zone with this album, and for that, you can’t help but admire his willingness to put everything on the line to blur the lines of expectations. In the end, while the Mutation project may have been a difficult task to get off the ground (Let alone complete), it’s was well worth seeing through to the end.

For more information on Mutation, check out - http://www.gingerwildheart.net/

© Justin Donnelly