Album Review: Mushroomhead – A Wonderful Life

Six years on from their last release, Cleveland’s Mushroomhead once again don their masks for latest full-length oeuvre, A Wonderful Life.

Opening with the introductory track A Requiem For Tomorrow”, things begin with an ominous choral piece and are soon combined with heavy industrial-inspired grooves with melodic synths. We then receive the first introduction to new members (vocalists Mr Rauckhorst and Ms Jackie) on “Madness Within” which not only gives off early Godhead vibes but sounds like a lullaby heard on Elm St.

The lead single “Seen it All” is not only catchy as hell but has some great galloping drums to boot. Macabre and melodic, “The Heresy” is hands down my favourite track on the album and I particularly enjoyed the change of pace, and the keyboards and samples from Stitch. “What a Shame” and “Pulse” almost follows in a similar pattern – this trio of songs collectively work incredibly well.

The new members really come to the fore on “Carry On” and “The Time Has Come”, really showing Mushroomhead in a new light. If there is a second single release for this album I wholeheartedly want it to be “11th Hour” as the refreshed focus of the band would be heard.

Just at the point where you think the band have totally switched direction, they pull out some old school aces from up their sleeves with “I am the One” and “The Flood”, before once again firmly setting foot in the consistent new direction with final tracks “Where the End Begins” and “Confutatis”. The latter is entirely choral and if this was the really the final track then I would feel a little disappointed… but A Wonderful Life is a gift that keeps on giving and contains a mammoth four bonus tracks: industrial instrumental “To the Front” would have been a more suitable album closer, but it’s followed by a real throwback to M3-era “Sound of Destruction”, piano-laden “Another Ghost” and another choral output “Lacrimosa”… which fortunately has more of punch to it than previous outputs.

This album is accented by the sharp production of band mastermind/drummer Skinny, as well as the mixing prowess of Matt Wallace who also worked on the band’s classic offering XIII.

A Wonderful Life has unmasked a new face for Mushroomhead and it’s worryingly alluring.

A Wonderful Life will be released June 19th via Napalm Records

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