Mr Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo Review

In a year of surprises, mostly of the nasty variety, a new album from Californian experimental legends Mr Bungle seemed an unlikely scenario. Yet here we are, but not as many would have expected. As has been well publicized, rather than pen an album of fresh tunes, the band has continued their streak for delivering the unexpected, revisiting their earliest teenage musical roots, and 1986 cult demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny. Mr Bungle have rerecorded and spruced up these rough tunes and given them a modern makeover. Original members Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn, are joined by thrash icons Scott Ian (Anthrax) on guitars and the almighty Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantômas, Dead Cross) on drums, rounding out an all star line-up. The addition of Ian and Lombardo whets the appetite for an album of supercharged thrash tunes, done Bungle style.

As a passionate metal and Patton fan, the prospect of the madcap Mr Bungle releasing a thrash album held great appeal. Eschewing much of the weirder elements of the band’s sound, from the deranged carnival freakshow and genre-bending of Mr Bungle (1991), to the schizoid choppiness of Disco Volante (1995), and avant-garde pop mastery of California (1999), The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is by far Bungle‘s most straightforward release. Essentially a hardcore punk laced old school thrash album with a modern Bungle twist, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is a high octane blast of wildly exuberant thrash, executed with their typically off-kilter sense of humor, juvenile goofiness, deadly serious chops, and an abundance of crunchy, hooky riffs and ripping tunes. Lead-off singles “Raping the Mind” and “Eracist” gave a solid pre-release taste of what to expect; punchy, dynamic and catchy explosions of thrash and groove, executed with palpable band chemistry and tight, proficient performances.

I’m pleased to report the rest of the album maintains the rage, resulting in a thrash beast to be reckoned with. Following a scene setting introductory piece, Raging Wrath jams into high gear with a short, fast crossover thrash fireball in “Anarchy Up Your Anus,” featuring delightfully demented vocals, infectious riffs, and sticky hooks. Elsewhere, there’s a solid cover of Corrosion of Conformity‘s “Loss for Words,” and a fun and silly rejigged interpretation of Stormtroopers of Death‘s “Speak English or Die,” here dubbed “”Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere” (Speak Spanish or Die). However the real treasures are within the original, re-imagined cuts. Highlights include, the bonkers thrash of “Bungle Grind,” tremendously epic, riff-packed flair of “Methematics,” and chunky, retro thrash stunner “Spreading the Thighs of Death;” an outstanding, shreddy, riff fest that is genuinely exhilarating. The blazing intensity of  “Sudden Death” closes the album in stunning style. Raging Wrath has its high points but doesn’t let up, supplying a rollicking ride of wacky thrash and memorable anthems.

Dark humor and juvenile hijinks lend the album its fun and goofy edge, but the blistering musicianship, unbridled aggression, and genuinely gripping songwriting elevates Raging Wrath to a high plane. Patton sounds as energetic and maniacal as ever, delivering a typically versatile and aggressive vocal performance, spiked with humor. Lombardo is in fine form, while Dunn’s audible, noteworthy basslines demand attention. Unlikely guitar duo of Ian and Spruance rip through a seemingly abundant supply of stupendous, supercharged thrash riffs and top shelf shreddage. The underrated Spruance in particular stands out, peppering the album with intricate, warped solos, providing a frenzied touch of class and Bungle-esque inventiveness. In a perfect world, Raging Wrath may have benefited from some tactful trimming, the cover tunes in particular are not entirely essential, though there are no dull moments or glaring missteps.

The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is almost certainly bound to disappoint some Mr Bungle fans, due to its lack of unpredictable, zany and experimental rock and avant-garde elements that defined their ’90s career. And I totally get that. But as a Bungle, Patton and thrash enthusiast, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo is a rousing success story and bold reinvention of the band’s earliest musical forays. The rage, energy and humor of Bungle 2020 is a triumph worth celebrating. Despite dispensing with the experimental quirks that has defined their career, Raging Wrath is far from your typical thrash album, ramming plenty of musical anarchy up arses throughout a wildly entertaining thrash extravaganza.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Ipecac Recordings 
Websites: mrbungle.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/ou818
Releases Worldwide: October 30th, 2020

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