Album review: Mutation III ‘Dark Black’

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At long last the third instalment of Ginger Wildheart’s relentless noise campaign is here, and I can guarantee it will physically blow your mind clean out of your boy. ‘Dark Black’ is as intense, brutal, and face-meltingly loud as I’d hoped it would be, and I had high hopes considering the involvement of Scott Lee Andrews (Exit International, Jaws of Death). The album features a plethora of incredible musicians, including Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Project), Phil Campbell (Motorhead), Givvi Flynn (The Dowling Poole, The Wildhearts) and Jon Poole (Cardiacs, The Wildhearts).

The influences on this record are sublimely combined; noise, extreme metal and punk fuse together in a glorious conglomeration of chaos. There is barely time to breathe throughout the entirety of it, aside from the six second opening track, a spoken word piece about the monster that is depression. This is a running theme throughout the album, with poignant lyrics creating a landscape of existential anxiety, dread, and frustration. As someone with experience in these matters, I would say that Ginger and crew have done a harrowingly spot-on job of grappling mental health battles into sonic form.

As soon as Authenticity kicks in, the ruthless violence of these sonic battles begin, peppered with addictive hooks and epic choruses which will have you screaming along for days.  The height of the of musical addiction on this album is undoubtedly Irritant, which boasts a terrifically blunt chorus of ‘Fuck off you cunt you are an irritant’. As Andrews himself professed, even the most optimistic person you know would have a hard time stopping themselves from belting along to this mantra. Plus the music video of Ginger and the gang relentlessly spray painting the Mutation logo onto large corporate businesses is hilarious.

Despite the reigning discord, there are brilliant melodies in Dark Black, like satanic interpretations of pop; Skint and Hate push perfectly tuned dynamics through the heaviness. This is what makes me want to listen to this album over and over again. The final track Deterioration will leave any distortion cravings satisfied, its slow pace grinding this shit-storm to a close.

This is certainly a love it or hate it record. The extremes that take place here leave no room for mild opinion, and I’m sure Ginger wanted it that way. Personally, I consider Dark Black to be a musical triumph of 2017 and it is probably my favourite new album of this year so far.

 

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Cookies and Scream

The thing I look forward to most about visiting London, i’m unashamed to say, is not the culture, the night life, or the shopping (although all that stuff is great I guess). No, the best thing about London is the marvellous array of vegan goodies available, just waiting to be consumed by junk food addicts like myself. If you’re looking for full fat, full sugar, fully divine vegan sweet treats, get yourself down to Cookies and Scream this instant. I mean it. Go, go right now.

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The brilliant thing about Cookies and Scream is that is has two locations, a stall in The Market Hall at Camden Lock and the bake house on Holloway Road. I’m sure I must have purchased from the Camden stall before, because as I took that first  mouthful of Cookies’ own peanut putter cookie pie on my visit to the capital last weekend, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia not unlike a resurfacing childhood memory, happy and sweet (hold the bitter).

I wanted to sample everything on offer, but sadly due to the sheer size of the portions (very generous) and my body’s limited ability to regulate all that sugar, I had to settle for sharing two cakes and milkshakes with my friend. We indulged in the ‘Chico’ pie and the ‘Beelzebub’ pie, a rich, chocolatey no-bake mud creation. We also chugged our way though a cookie dough milkshake and a brownie milkshake. After finishing everything, it’s safe to say we were pretty much laying face down on the floor of the cafe in candy comas.

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If you are braver than I and want to sample more that just two cakes, you wont be strapped for choice; they do cookies, brownies, donuts, and more signature pies like Banoffee, Blue Moon, and Donnie Darko (choc mint mousse). They bake fresh every day so it’s best to just turn up and be excited for the surprise ahead. Oh did I mention that while we were stuffing our faces, the staff had picked a fantastic hardcore punk and post-punk playlist for our listening pleasure? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, with a name like ‘Cookies and Scream’, that this fantastic little bakery draws an alternative and liberal crowd. But it is far from hipster, and the staff are super friendly and will give you recommendations and talk you through any of their bakes.

The portion sizes are well worth the (very reasonable) prices, and well worth a special trip across London to indulge in. Personally I am pining for a branch to open in Nottingham so I can eat it every day. Please, Cookies and Scream, please come to Nottingham I beg you.

130 Holloway Road, London, N7 8JE | Mon-Sat 9-8pm, Sun 11-8pm | T: Highbury and Islington Station | menu changes daily