Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mutation - The Frankenstein Effect

Mutation
The Frankenstein Effect
Independent Release

2012 has to go down as one of Ginger Wildheart’s busiest and most productive years as a recording artist, with no less than three projects undertaken in the twelve month period, which in turn spawned a colossal six discs worth of music.
One of the many projects Ginger worked on during 2012 (Outside Ginger’s triple solo album ‘555%’ and his upcoming pop collaboration with Victoria Liedtke in Hey! Hello!) that has finally just seen the light of day is his highly anticipated experimental project Mutation.
Much like some of the material that appeared on his ‘555%’ album, the Mutation project has a long history, with Ginger initially getting the project underway shortly after parting company with Michael Monroe in 2011 after the completion of Monroe’s solo effort ‘Sensory Overdrive’.
But despite Ginger’s best efforts to complete the project, problems arose when it came to the mixing stage, and the album was eventually shelved in favour of undertaking a stretch of touring instead.
But given the overwhelming success of his pledge campaign for ‘555%’, Ginger once again resurrected the Mutation project, and over a year and a half after the Ginger announced the project, the first volume of his highly anticipated Mutation venture, ‘The Frankenstein Effect’, has finally been unveiled.
Ginger’s idea behind Mutation was to produce something extreme, but with enough rhythmic and catchy elements to make the whole project accessible enough for people to enjoy. And after allowing my senses to fully absorb the ten tracks that make up ‘The Frankenstein Effect’, I would say that Ginger has definitely achieved his objective.
The opening track ‘Powderland’ is the perfect way for Ginger to introduce listeners to his Mutation project, with the opening riff structures and tribal-like drums luring the listener into thinking they’re about to hear another classic Ginger anthem, only to be suddenly thrown into melodic chaotic mess that is both noisy and catchy. Held together through a mix of heavy guitar riffs, jagged time changes and vocals that provide a wave of white noise in the background and up-front aggression on those that are audible, ‘Powderland’ is a heavy and messy behemoth of a track, but classic Ginger with its infectious chorus lines and huge riffs.
‘Rats’ is another stand out cut with its sing along choruses and schizophrenic thrashing/rhythmic groove musical backdrop, while ‘Friday Night Drugs’ is completely off the wall, with elements of grooving sludge like guitar passages, cheerleader vocals and straight out noisy thrash thrown into the one track. Despite the different sounds, somehow it all seems to blend together, albeit with the help of some great hooks from Ginger into the vocal and guitar department.
Not unlike ‘Friday Night Drugs’, ‘Schadenfreude’ is another track spliced together with a lot of differing elements that don’t initially appear to mesh all that well. But after several listens, it all seems to make sense somehow, if only because the blast beat drumming and huge guitar riff passages seem to keep the whole track glued together.
‘Compass Point’ is something quite different sounding for the album, with drummer Denzel Pearson (Young Legionnaires/Ginger Wildheart Band), Rich Jones (Ginger Wildheart Band/Amen/The Black Halos/The Loyalties), Paul Astick (Hawk Eyes) and Tom Hudson (Pulled Apart By Horses) taking on the lead vocals. As you would expect, the song is a bit all over the place sound wise, with an underlining punk, hardcore and thrash feel throughout.
Most fans will be familiar with ‘Lively Boy’ as it was offered up via a promotional video clip last October. But anyone who assumes that this semi-accessible Wildhearts like track (I’m thinking 1997’s ‘Endless, Nameless’, but with a cleaner production and a lot more twists and turns) is indicative of what the rest of ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ has to offer might well be in for a rude shock. As a song, ‘Lively Boy’ still has its experimental elements, but is otherwise the most straight forward sounding effort on the album, which earns its place as one of the album’s real standout cuts.
Veering off to the other end of the spectrum is ‘Gruntwhore’, which surprisingly enough, features Scott Lee Andrews (Exit_International) and Tom Spencer (The Loyalties/ex-Yo-Yo's) sharing singing duties. Despite the absence of Ginger for the most part (He only helped on naming, arranging and editing the song), the track is another stand out with its sheer brutality, experimentation with editing effects and pure catchiness amongst the noise.
The only track that fails to really grab me is ‘On Poking Dogs’. While some of the riff structures are strong, the choruses are O.K. and I like the reference to The Wildhearts at the end of the song, the song as a whole doesn’t quite get to the same high standard of the previous tracks, which is a real shame.
The cover of Dan Deacon’s ‘Wham City’ is a stroke of genius on Ginger’s behalf, if only because he managed to turn a twelve minute electronic opus into an extremely noisy four and a half minute metallic pop song that fits perfectly on ‘The Frankenstein Effect’.
Finishing up the album is ‘Carrion Blue’, which is the kind of track that sums everything about Mutation in the one track. There’s elements of speeding thrash, melodic death metal and experimental noise, but its Ginger’s trademark huge choruses and epic scope that really pushes this song beyond the ordinary and incoherent.
Overall, while ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ is an ambitious album, it’s an album that works. And given that the album has eventually found its way into fans’ hands after being shelved a couple of years ago – this release is nothing short of a triumph.
I have no doubt that ‘The Frankenstein Effect’ will divide even the most diehard of Ginger fans (This album is nothing like anything he’s ever recorded before), it will make sense to those who understand what Ginger was aiming for – and that’s to push himself as an artist beyond the expectations fans have of his previous work.

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

© Justin Donnelly