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Now THIS is more like it! - 88%

OSheaman, July 14th, 2003

Warning: This group makes Really Weird Shit. If you aren't into Really Weird Shit, stay away. On the other hand, if you're not sure about Really Weird Shit, try this album, because you might just find yourself becoming a fan of Really Weird Shit.

Mr. Bungle has finaly gotten their act together for the first of three excellent full-length albums. In the self-titled first of these, there are several noticeable improvements since the demos. Obviously, the production is better, as they are now a signed band. More importantly, Mike Patton's vocals are better. Instead of relying on rather unrefined harsh vocals to express himself, Patton cleans up his vocals and displays his incredibly wide range of vocal abilities by singing in several different distinct personas in this album at different ranges and with different degrees of harshness. This incredible range of abilities cements Patton's place as one of the most important and talented vocalists of metal, and it's about damn time, too.

The guitars have gotten a lot better, too. Now, instead of the unfocused wankery of the demos, the guitars have a few solid riffs under their belts and are ready to kick ass. They either play solid, clean and straightforward riffs, or they play riffs that don't follow a set progression but at least sound like they're going somewhere. They also have a better handle on their volume, playing loud when they should be loud and soft when they should be soft.

Patton's vocals are very well-showcased in Travolta, and Dead Goon is a longer song that plays out like a lost Phish track, but still has plenty of style lodged in the mellow-sounding chords. The best song on here, however, is The Girls of Porn, which, in addition to having a funny-as-shit opening and excellent lyrics, features solid riffage and some serious vocal acrobatics, all combined to make what is probably Mr. Bungle's (the band's and the album's) greatest song.

As I said before, this is Avant-Garde Metal, which, when very loosely translated from French, means Really Weird Shit. There is a wide variety of songs on here, so not liking one song does not necessarily mean you won't like the whole album. It may be a bit of an acquired taste, but I have this album and I love it. It's worth the money, if only for The Girls of Porn alone.