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Thursday, January 20, 2011

CD Review: Mongrel - The New Breed of Old School EP

Mongrel - The New Breed of Old School EP
2010 self-released
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Though there's quite a few Mongrels out in the music world (and we're definitely not referring to the one comprised of former Arctic Monkeys members), the Boston Mongrel crew appears ready to kick up the dust once again with this practice session EP filled with re-recordings of songs from their Fear, Lies and Propaganda album.

Featuring a new overhaul to the Mongrel camp for The New Breed of Old School, particularly the addition of vocalist Jessica Sierra, don't dismiss this EP because it's a reboot of old material. In fact, if you've followed this metal-punk hybrid awhile (the group does boast a pretty sizable fan base), The New Breed of Old School is going to tickle your fancy with a bit more polish and Sierra's renditions of Betsy Bitch and Wendy O. Williams as she brings new life to Mongrel.

Only choppy on occasion, Mongrel does bring a spiffier rub to the shitkicking "West Memphis Hell," "I Refuse" and "The World Loves a Tragedy." "West Memphis Hell" still boasts a vintage, clumpy thrash roll culled from the old New Renaissance label years and even Metal Blade in its infancy stages, ala Deaf Dealer and Hallow's Eve. "Houdini Act" comes off like a lost L.A. Guns demo track with Jessica Sierra lending a hint of estrogen to her otherwise macho "fuck off" aural pimp roll.

Adversely, you buy more into the fallen angel story behind "Bound to Crash" as delivered by Sierra. While the song may go on a click or two longer than it should, it was a wise choice by the group to put "Bound to Crash" into her hands. She brings far more empathy to the muse and you almost wonder if she's kindred. She also handles the Suicidal Tendencies-meets-Plasmatics funk punker "Shut Up, Get Dead" with a rowdier kitsch, while Mongrel collectively amps "I Refuse" with a heavier step this time with gang choruses and a killer solo by Adam Savage. "I Refuse" now comes off somewhere between Nashville Pussy and Agent Orange. Have a good time getting sucked into those anti-poser, anti-reality t.v. choruses. Rawk...

In all, minus a handful of glibs, The New Breed of Old School sounds like what it's supposed to be: a warm-up for something potentially rude and boisterous on the next go-round. This time around, Mongrel has some serious firepower on the mike, so look the hell out.

Rating: ***1/2

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