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Deadly Scenes

Kaotoxin (2015)
Rating: 6/10

Deadly Scenes – the third full-length opus from Paris-based 6:33 – is an album I could have enjoyed immensely and would have probably found even more intriguing if I hadn’t heard the mighty Mr. Bungle as a kid in the late 80s.

6:33 is very much an experimental rock band of many shades and tones; specialising in a Mr. Bungle-styled epileptic, orgasmic smörgåsbord of sounds that incorporate jolting jazz melodies, stop-start progressive jerks and spins, thrashing hints married with comedy quirks and pop sensibility.

Yep, it’s all very Mr. Bungle even down to the vocal sways, rasps and choppy raps and at times it’s a little too close to comfort, right to those sinister sneers and carnival-esque swirls and kaleidoscopic rants and heaves. In fact, there may be those who think this is Mr. Bungle, and for me that’s not a good thing and I’m wondering just how people will see this release from a band that is aping to the extreme.

Okay, so the big issue with Mr. Bungle is that they covered nigh on every musical mutation and bastardization to create what was an unfairground of weirdness, and 6:33 is replicating it rather than taking snippets and evolving from it. I just get a feeling that even with the titles (‘Ego Fandago’ for one) these guys have spent way too much time listening to Mr. Bungle’s 1999 California opus, because whether it’s the sense of a David Lynch-ian drama, the circus suspense or those knee-jerk toons and vocal sighs it’s Mike Patton down to a tee.

In a sense I’m seeing and hearing Deadly Scenes as a novel idea, and one that is instantly sweet upon the tongue, eyes and ears, because over its ever-changing scenery if I had a pound / dollar for every Mr. Bungle comparison I’d be a wealthy man by the time opening track ‘Hellalujah’ has spun out of sight like a drug-fuelled crazy clown. From that fuzzing bounce to the overall zany atmosphere, the more I listen the more I become aggravated by the mimicry, and I’d love to hear what Mr. Patton has to say on the matter. Sure, we can all be influenced by such former glories, but to replicate it to such a degree is nigh on laughable and often a little too cringe-worthy for the stomach to handle.

Sure, the talent here cannot be ignored – more so in that the press release states quite clearly that there’s a nod to Mike Patton as well as Devin Townsend and Tim Burton – but it’s a treat that wears thin all too quickly.

One gets the impression from 6:33 that the whole façade created is one that hides a big in-joke that us kids will never understand, but I just feel like I’m in the presence of a teenager who just thinks he’s the weirdest at the party when in fact he’s just the most annoying. In fact, while I can in the short term revel in the raging go-go mania of ‘I’m A Nerd’ with its hoarse raps, or the dark fantasy of ‘Modus Operandi’ I just feel like I want to pull vocalist Rorschach to one side and ask him why on earth he has spent the entire album imitating Patton?

The saddest aspect about the whole cotton-candy drama is the fact that there are some glimmers of promise, such as the opening to the ‘Modus Operandi’, but time and time again the Bungle obsession lumbers in the room, whether in the form of the aforementioned ‘Ego Fandango’ or the sprawling ‘Lazy Boy’, which admittedly is a tad more cosmic than Bungle. However, for every glint of hope there’s that jarring elephant which overstays its welcome. Maybe it’s the vocal style which plasters the record that makes the whole affair so Patton-drenched, but then again those start-stop-start animations do not help either.

Deadly Scenes comes to a close with the title track – a 13-minute self-indulgent magnum opus which again brings to mind Mr. Bungle at its most epic (‘Dead Goon’) – and then the sugary taste has worn off, leaving me with a foul taste in my mouth and a huge sense of déjà vu.

Neil Arnold

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