Cassette Corner: Failed Mutation - "Demo 2013"

Failed Mutation - Demo 2013
(Not Normal 2013)
"Adds a thick film of lo-fi grime to the sound of Zero Boys and "Nervous Breakdown" era Black Flag."

Slightly less aggressive than their imposing band name and gruesome Shel Silverstein-esque artwork would suggest, Milwaukee's Failed Mutation make their demo debut with eight tracks of female-fronted hardcore that adds a thick film of lo-fi grime to the sound of Zero Boys and "Nervous Breakdown" era Black Flag. I consider it somewhat of a "pop" release for the Not Normal label, less explicit and abrasive than what they've released in the past couple of years, but feel that the shift of focus from sheer brutality to a trebly, streamlined punk approach is a much needed, though most likely temporary, change of pace.

Though growling bass and breakneck percussion is what draws me to the hardcore genre, I'll admit that at times that it can be hard to tell one band's instrumental assault from another's. That's why a great vocalist is key when it comes to catching my full attention in the realm of punk rock. Musically, for example, neither Minor Threat nor the Circle Jerks deliver the most intricate instrumentation, but Ian Mackaye's raspy shout and Keith Morris' wide-eyed howl always seem to stick with me. Failed Mutation's lead singer, whose name is not listed on the Not Normal bandcamp page, has a similarly memorable vocal style, borrowed from the riot-grrrl stylings of Bikini Kill and the Beachniks, which fit quite nicely in an 80's hardcore setting. Make sure to check out "Time To Stand", a cover of a song by J Mascis' and Lou Barlow's first band, Deep Wound.