Eureka! Mr. Bungle is back! We know, it’s not the perfect time to talk about Easter Bunnies while everybody is decorating trees. But when Mike Patton and friends return after 21 years with a re-recording of their 1986 obscure cassette demo we gladly make an exception.
Since a whole generation grew up without Mr. Bungle in the past 20 years some introductions are in place. Mr. Bungle was a big name in the 90s and made a name as a weirdo experimental rock band. Most famous member is vocalist Mike Patton who co-founded the band and later became very successful when he helmed the alt metal outfit Faith No More. Mr. Bungle only released three studio albums: Mr. Bungle (1991), Disco Volante (1995) and California (1999). This trinity is remembered as extremely eclectic. We especially like the oddball style of their ‘91 debut that was produced by experimentalist John Zorn and is typified by some media as Zappa-esque Bugs Bunny-jazz. Although we never forgot about the band but also never expected that Patton, bassist Trevor Dunn, guitarist Trey Spruance, and drummer Jed Watts decided to revive Mr. Bungle.
The band however made sure that on their return they played none of the music that made them so great in the 90s. Instead Mr. Bungle’s resurrected their first demo that contained sloppy produced thrash metal, a style that oddly enough matured into the weirdo rock we know so well. Patton and his merry men however were looking to go over the top on this re-wrath of the Easter Bunny and called in guitarist Scott Ian (Anthrax) and drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer) for some extra horsepower. Well with these guys on your team you know things are gonna get loud, very loud. So get ready for an onslaught.
On two LP’s that together take about an hour to complete the full demo, including a few new tracks, is brought to life. After the eerie intro Grizzly Adams, the album explodes on Anarchy Up Your Anus. From this moment on riffs aggressively pump through your speakers with Patton’s unique six-octave range in the center of it all. While things even intensify on Raping Your Mind, Mr.Bungle also show that they haven’t lost their feeling for goofyness. Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere is a newly added track which is a fun rendition of Speak English or Die from the satirical thrash outfit Stormtroopers of Death. And yep, you heard right… somewhere in between, “La Cucaracha” even made an appearance just to tell us that after all those years the band still can pull out the carnival at any time and any place. If that doesn’t keep you on your toes we won’t know what else will. Of course you have to appreciate the genre for at least a bit. If you don’t, it’s best you run for cover ASAP because there’s a lot more ear bleeding racket coming your way.
One of our album favorites is Bungle Grind which goes from the one metal corner to the other. Dizzying riffages tumble over each other at high pace as Patton every now and then growls that life is a fucking joke. Or could this metal medley be the joke? Hmm, it got us chuckling anyway. After the speedy grind dies off, Methematics at first seems to bring some rest but quickly turns into a grueling nine-minute thrash slam. Luckily we get the well deserved breathing room on another new demo addition, Eracist, which essentially is a nod to late 80s sludge. Here we wondered if uber masculine gang chants should still be a thing in 2020. Nevertheless it also unwittingly got us chanting along at the same time… *ugh*.
During the remainder of the album Mr. Bungle increasingly speeds up again. The band probably knows that after all of the over-top thrash listeners are defenseless by now. Yet, the beat down ruthlessly continues on Spreading The Thighs Of Death and especially on Glutton For Punishment. Although both tracks still hit the right chords for us we also have to admit that to our taste this Easter Bunny has been jumping around a bit too long. Thankfully the bunny is already hopping back to the hole it came from under the tones of Sudden Death. This closing touch could well be the result of Slayer and System of a Down huddle up which sounds kind of nice but as a closer feels somewhat pointless.
By today’s standard The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is a ridiculous re-recording. It’s ridiculously brilliant if you like Mr. Bungle and don’t mind full frontal thrash music that twists and turns in all sorts of heavy directions along the way. It could well be 2020’s the best loud record. If the aforementioned does not apply to you this record obviously a ridiculously stupid. Thrash is dead and buried right? If you think so, ignore this one by all means. Whatever your taste we think it’s good to know that after decades the heroes of our time are still able to deliver a crushing performance.
Label: Ipecac, 2020
- Grizzly Adams (2:55)
- Anarchy Up Your Anus (2:15)
- Raping Your Mind (5:53)
- Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere (3:43)
- Bungle Grind (6:30)
- Methematics (8:45)
- Eracist (3:52)
- Spreading the Thighs of Death (5:59)
- Loss for Words (4:16)
- Glutton for Punishment (4:49)
- Sudden Death (7:30)
Review by Wander Meulemans // 121220