Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

You Bungled It! - 98%

psychoticnicholai, July 23rd, 2018
Written based on this version: 1991, CD, Warner Bros. Records

There were a lot of people out there that considered Faith no More to be an extremely weird band. That rings true, but they were still relatively reserved and balanced compared to the other band Mike Patton fronted. Enter the disgusting genius pervert funk n’ roll clown himself, Mr. Bungle! This was the band where everything got darker, weirder, funnier, and more unhinged. It was also where Mike Patton originally came from, likely contributing to the avant-garde, genre-jumping insanity of Faith no More’s Angel Dust just a year after this album dropped. However, Mr. Bungle’s self-titled debut album is bigger, darker, and stranger than that with everything being more metallic, yet also drawing from a similarly diverse array of genres. This album is one of the peak examples of how something can be demented, but also boatloads of fun.

While Mr. Bungle go in tons of weird directions and incorporate genres ranging everywhere from funk to ska to circus music and lounge jazz, what holds this thing together is a solid backbone of metal that the songs memorable along with their genre-mashing diversity and length-pushing ambition. Said backbone is a mixture of delicious groovy riffs and surprisingly punchy funk dripping wet with distortion to make everything more acidic and delicious. Though, even the most memorable of the songs have a whacked-out and almost hallucinogenic quality to them that comes not just from the wacky breaks and different effects, but from the synergy of the instruments themselves. Right from the start of “Quote Unquote” you can tell you’ll be entering the tunnels of insanity with how the synthesizer lines mesh with the guitars to make a warped and disturbing vision of a heavy metal freakshow with strong funky undertones come to life. Transitions are drastic and sudden, often from relaxing lounge bits or swinging funk turning into horrific keyboard slams or sudden heavy guitars chiming in. Somehow Mr. Bungle holds to that backbone strongly enough to avoid turning their music into a mess and instead it comes off as daring and decisive despite (or perhaps because of) the potpourri of sounds on offer.

Another strength of this album is its ability to elicit a diverse array of feelings from the listener and make such feelings as strong and as gratifying as possible. Moshing to a song called “My Ass is on Fire” or “Love is a Fist” may sound it’ll get uncomfortable, but these songs pack such a punch that I’d honestly risk it thanks to Trey Spruance’s spastic, funky, and bouncy guitar play. That’s great for getting the anger out. This album can also freak you out at one moment and then make you collapse from laughter the next. This is where Mike Patton comes in and he sounds as though he’s fresh back from Faith no More with how he moves between singing, shouting, and making all manner of silly narrations that play into both the horror and the humor of this. Some of the stuff this guy sings about is so perverted and surreal that you’d swear you were in the middle of an X-rated Peewee’s Playhouse starring Mr. Vlad Drac Patton himself. From lyrics about limbless carnie freaks, to sexually violating fast food mascots, to the gross bits of a dog’s life, to shouting in the listener’s face for daring to look at him, the things said on this album are exceptional in just how batshit the lyrics get. It also makes for some humor that’s killer enough to make you fall out of your chair. Even when you aren’t laughing, it’s hard not to be transfixed by all the weird stuff going on.

This leads to a lot of moments on Mr. Bungle that become memorable in and of themselves. I already talked about the distorted funky riffs of Trey Spruance since they make up the most prominent part of the instrumentation. Odd offerings that stand out are abundant on this thing and go beyond the guitars. Producer and jazz legend John Zorn comes in squealing like a speeding squeegee on “Love is a Fist” almost as if to give the band’s regular saxophonist a sharp contrast to his swing-like rhythms. The transition from “Carousel” to “Egg” features samples from one of the Mario games. And chances are you might end up quoting some of the things Mike Patton says here, least of all “Thanks Mom!” not to mention some of the choruses. There’s all sorts of little fun tidbits that you find while listening to this thing, and so many of them that it’ll take you a few spins to find them all. But that’s all fine and dandy since the heavy funky bounce of this thing is something you’ll want to come back to with the jazzier and more circus-like passages acting as interesting, yet integral diversions.

In addition to cranking up the levels of acid-induced craziness already seen on Faith no More, Mr. Bungle hits harder, brings even more diversity of styles, and ties it all together in a thrilling, creepy circus-funk-metal package. This album is something to admire for not only how creative and diverse it is, but also how well it all holds together and how ambitiously it builds its songs with two parts force and four parts fun. It’ll have you jumping, moshing, laughing, and screaming all at different points and it will feel great. Sometimes embracing the madness can be a great thing, but it really helps if there’s some interesting wacky stories and catchy heavy funk riffs to give it one hell of a swingin’ rhythm. If you’re ready to take things to the next level from Faith no More’s oddity, this is the album to go to. It’s darker and wackier than that band, but also more metallic and still catchy with a real penchant for creativity. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go bounce around babbling like a maniac to this thing.