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Oh man, what a mess do we have here. Before Mr. Bungle went off the deep end and made their funk/alternative metal debut, they were already a mentally unstable death metal band in the 80s. Although their first demo is probably some of the band’s most traditional-sounding music (there are actual metal riffs here!), even at this point the songs still include bizarre moments of songwriting and unnecessary instrumentation. In the past I’ve felt that this ridiculous little demo is overall Mr. Bungle’s greatest work, but now even this release lacks a lot of the memorability that made their later releases interesting. I’m sure I’d get plenty of metal nerd cred by claiming Mr. Bungle played better punk/thrash/death metal than alternative music, but who am I kidding: this release rarely has my attention, and although it’s enjoyable at times, this simply isn’t essential listening for anybody.
What we basically have here is the kind of death/thrash you would expect from 1986, with occasional smatterings of influence from grindcore and crust punk, as well as the occasional token “avant-garde” moment. Think standard Venom/Hellhammer/Death worship, being played by the annoying younger cousins of Antisect. I refer to annoying children because that seems to be where a lot of the humor and randomness of The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny is derived from. I don’t know about Mr. Bungle’s fanbase, but I stopped thinking that inserting random screams and harmonicas into otherwise normal music was funny when I turned twelve. This is partly why “Evil Satan” is one of the best songs on the demo; because it isn’t normal music. They take all of their wacky tendencies (a goofy bongo intro, kazoo solos and Patton’s funky vocal delivery) and cram them all in one track, which has better results than the ridiculous spoken word mumbling that begins “Anarchy Up Your Anus”. “Hypocrites” is another particularly odd track: it opens as a pure hardcore punk song, before quickly descending into a riffy take of “La Cucaracha” and some sort of samba-chant of a chorus.
Sadly, the longer, more metal-focused tracks aren’t really any better than the wacky songs. There are awesome moments that can be found within them, surely: “Spreading the Thighs of Death” and “Bungle Grind” both feature some very intense guitar solos. The former demonstrates some clear Venom/Slayer influence in the manner that Trey Spruance hammers out some ungodly and chaotic scales, while the band’s namesake song has a far more technical and precise trade-off method to the soloing. Riff-wise, there is some interesting material here, but you’d be hard pressed to pay attention long enough to pick them out. Overall, Mr. Bungle writes far better midpaced thrash riffs than faster, primordial death metal ones. The chugging that opens up “Anarchy Up Your Anus” and “Spreading the Thighs of Death” is far superior to any of the grinding and blasting that all of the longer songs give way too. “Raping Your Mind” and “Sudden Death” in particular bore me to death; the band simply doesn’t have the chops to write thoroughly interesting six minute long death metal songs.
Overall, this is a demo with a few cool moments which are outweighed by a lot of flaws. The production is inaudible during the fast parts, the longer songs get boring halfway through, and the half an hour running time is too much for a wacky death metal release such as this. Perhaps if you’re patient with bullshit you can find value in this, but in the end we all listen to Mr. Bungle because we want to hear fucked up shit like “Squeeze Me Macaroni”, not punky extreme metal. I’m just disappointed that there was a point in my metal-listening career that I thought that Mr. Bungle’s death metal demos would actually be worth my time. For hardcore fans only.