What do you do when everything goes to shit? Depression, anxiety, misery, torment, whatever you want to call it. It needs a name and it needs a soundtrack. Welcome to Mutation III: Dark Black. Mutation began as the deformed brainchild of Ginger Wildheart, one of British rock's official living legends and the man behind The Wildhearts, Hey! Hello! and all manner of wildly tuneful and uplifting rock 'n' roll shenanigans. This band is different, however. This band is the manifestation of all the horrible stuff that goes on in Ginger's head.
As a result, the first two Mutation albums were laborious in their creation but mind-blowing to all those who heard the: 2013's The Frankenstein Effect was like a Wildhearts album recorded by PCP-guzzling baboons, while Error 500 was a relentless barrage of squawking, screeching, glitched-to-fuck wrongness. Both featured an ignominious cast of characters that Ginger assembled to facilitate his sonic meltdown, with everyone from Napalm Death and Japanoise icon Merzbow to The Fall's Mark E. Smith chipping in some wonky nuggets of aural sickness. But even the most extreme moments on the first two Mutation records sound like David Essex's "Hold Me Close" compared to the foul, seething, mentally shattered insanity of Mutation III: Dark Black. A collaboration between Ginger and Scott Lee Andrews of Welsh bass-punk wretches Exit International, this time the madness is very, very real.
As messy, unpleasant and unhinged as the writing process for Mutation III: Dark Black was, the end results were manifestly worth the wait. Once again, the album boasts a dazzling array of guest contributions from a great number of similarly demented human beings, including prog metal superstar Devin Townsend, Phil Campbell from Motorhead, Arthur Shepherd of Primitive Weapons, ex-Cardiacs fruitloop Random Jon Poole, Jamie Oliver of UK Subs, Mauro Pawlowski (ex-dEUS) and the mighty Paul Catten (Barrabas, Bed Wetter, Stuntcock, The Sontaran Experiment, ex-Medulla Nocte). With backing vocals from long-time Ginger comrade Givvi Flynn and various other bug-eyed weirdos thrown in for good measure, the bewildering, mutoid riff carpet-bombing that erupts throughout the album's deceptively hook-laden barrage is so dense, intense and extreme that it seems to an exerts an almost gravitational pull.
From the sing-along hate-spew of "Irritant" and the synth-pissing jerk 'n' roll of opener "Authenticity" to the balls-out death metal detonations of "Toxins" and the collapsed-lung descent-into-oblivion of the closing "Deterioration," Mutation III: Dark Black is all wrong, all of the time.