Mushroomhead have been performing incognito since 1993, when drummer Skinny founded the band. The band was meant to be a side-project so they wore masks to go unrecognized, but after only a few shows they developed a rabid and loyal fan base in Cleveland. Mushroomhead released their 1995 self-titled debut album independently and it went on to became an underground hit. This was history in the making because the band really had no proper distribution. Superbuick followed in 1996 and M3 in 1999, all released via an underground street effort. After the band felt its image and hyper-melodic and heavy style of music was being deluted by other bands jumping into this space, the band started to change their look to reflect nothing out there. After a brief stint on Eclipse Records, a move to Universal Records saw the release of XX (a combination of the past independent releases) in 2001 and XIII in 2003. The band’s last album sold over 200,000 units in the USA alone. Now, it’s 2006, and Mushroomhead will release Savior Sorrow for the pioneering rock label, Megaforce Records (Metallica, Anthrax, Ministry, Warren Haynes).
It can be said that Mushroomhead’s musical ascendance was a singular, original, aesthetic of eight guys decked out in matching jumpsuits and artsy masks, playing unbelievable, unsettling music. No other band was wearing masks and jumpsuits and purveying this type of ultra-melodic, ultra-dynamic music at the time – Mushroomhead sounded like nothing else. The band’s merging of metal, atmospheric elements, rock, and theatrics mixed with a punk DIY attitude has inspired and spawned other bands (Slipknot, among others) to follow suit. Even though Mushroomhead’s music is rock-leaning in thought, the group remains firmly committed to pushing the envelope and trying new things. Influences range from the driving rhythms and breakneck turns of Metallica, to the dark gothic melodies of Bauhaus, to the atmospheric stylings of Pink Floyd, but all done in Mushroomhead style.
Produced by Steve Felton (aka Skinny) at Filthy Hands Studios in Cleveland, Savior Sorrow continues the Mushroomhead journey that takes the listener on a fantasy ride. It is an album that’s meant to be heard from beginning to end.
Savior Sorrow also marks the first studio appearance of vocalist Waylon, who replaced the departed J Mann, where Waylon will counter the vocal stylings of Mushroomhead’s other lead vocalist, Jeffrey Nothing. The diversity and multiple dimensions Waylon brings to the band are astounding: he is a screamer and a singer who molds his voice to what the song demands. Drummer and producer, Skinny, comments: “Waylon is versatile. He is a chameleon who changes his voice at breakneck speed. It’s truly remarkable.”
Mushroomhead are no stranger to mixing a lot of styles and Savior Sorrow exemplifies this tendency. “1200” opens the album with soaring vocals by Jeffrey and melodically heavy riffs – it’s a great example of Mushroomhead’s diverse influences. “Simple Survival” could very well be the band’s mantra and illustrates their ability to adapt into a more rock sensibility. A curve ball is thrown in the sequence with the epic and beautiful “Save Us,” which builds from a soft introduction to an intensely grand song. It also serves as a motif that reappears in the album. “Tattoo” is hardcore, vicious and never lets up, but “The Doubt” whips us into a dancing rock mood. “Burn” is classic Mushroomhead with its abrasive verses with melodic chorus, which leads into the hook-laden, gothic-leaning “Pretending.” The album takes a calm atmospheric twist with “The Need,” which sets up the uber-creepy “Cut Me,” which is a wrenching song that will leave the listener haunted for days. “The Fallen” is somewhat of an anomaly because it’s a 3 piece set-up and is simple and raw. The final “Embrace The Ending” is a bookend to “Save Us,” and has similar ideas and song structure. All said and done, there is something on this album for everyone.
On the Mushroomhead’s prior release, XIII, entered the Top 200 at # 40 and went on to sell 200,000 copies in the USA and 400,000 copies worldwide. With Savior Sorrow, the band continues to explore the musical depths by remaining different and forward-thinking as ever. Sit back and experience the fantasy known as Mushroomhead.
Skinny -- Drums
Jeffrey Nothing – Lead Vocals
Waylon – Lead Vocals
Shmotz – Keyboards
Pig Benis – Bass
Gravy – Guitar
Stitch -- Noises