Mutoid Man Helium Head

Mutoid Man Helium Head
A rolling stone gathers no moss, and that adage couldn't be truer for Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky. In the many years between releases from his main band, he's had his fingers in so many pies that they're indelibly stained with the fruits of his labours: Old Man Gloom, Kid Kilowatt, Octave Museum, New Idea Society and Pet Genius, for starters.

Mutoid Man was originally the extra-life-annihilating boss from the '90s Robotron-styled Smash TV videogame, a character who could only be defeated by drilling him with hundreds of bullets, projectiles, and missiles for a very long time. Brodsky has cleverly picked this moniker to name his newest eardrum-liquefying project with Converge drummer Ben Koller; seven tracks, each under three minutes in length, the whole shebang clocking in at a quick 17 minutes.

By far his noisiest venture, Brodsky plays hyperactive prog-hardcore amid Koller's Lombardo-on-crack drum fills. Spastic slabs of razor-wire guitar and (sadly) processed vocals swirl through "Gnarcissist," "Friday the 13/8," and "Sacrilege." The latter half of "Scavengers" and "Scrape the Walls" offer some reprieve from the utter cacophony, while "Lost in the Hive" brings its cascading chords à la Robert Fripp's The League of Gentlemen to fruition. The band also play a phenomenal cover of the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (cheekily titled "The Manimals" here), which shows off the full range of Brodsky's gilded pipes at last.

For those fans jonesing for the fabled Cave In/Converge project that may never see the light of day, Mutoid Man mightily scratches that itch. (Magic Bullet)