on 18 June 2014
Having been underwhelmed by both 'Saviour Sorrow' and 'Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children' (both have moments of excellence, but were a little bit too hit and miss, in my opinion) I bought this album with a slight sense of hesitation. However, even on the first listen, I knew that this was Mushroomhead back to their best, and, having now listened to pretty much only this album for the past week, I can confirm that. This is right up there with 'XIII', which, until this release, had been my favourite Mushroomhead album (though 'XX' wasn't far behind). In fact, I'd say, right now, that 'The Righteous and the Butterfly' has the edge over 'XIII'. The return of J Mann is definitely welcome. Stand out tracks, personally, are opener 'Our Apologies' , 'Portraits of the Poor' and 'We are the Truth', but, as with 'XIII', there really isn't a bad song on this album at all. Highly recommended.
The Righteous & The Butterfly, from 2014, is the Cleveland Ohio Heavy Metal band Mushroomhead’s seventh full-length studio album, and their fifth album since coming to international attention with their breakthrough XX compilation album, a decade and a half ago.
Twenty years since forming the band, Mushroomhead show no decline in quality or consistency, as the ever-underrated and misjudged band continue perfecting their unique musical vision regardless of changes in the musical landscape or the band’s line-up over the years. People in-the-know have justifiably formed a dedicated cult audience for the X-faced band. For this review I won’t waste time trying to convince skeptics of the band’s value, but will instead focus towards those who already like Mushroomhead.
Prior to this record there was quite a big line-up shift, but you can hardly tell as the band barely miss a beat.In fact, this album is probably the most that the band have ever sounded alike between two studio albums, so if you liked their previous album, 2010’s excellent Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, then this will undoubtedly be to your tastes. The similar mixture of creepy Faith No More atmosphere, simplistic catchy Pantera riffs, fat grooves, speedy double-kick sections, sparing use of female vocals and clean piano, and an increasing distance from anything Industrial that all characterized their previous album is here as well, in more or less the same ratio, to an equally high standard. There’s also an increasing amount of lead guitar and a lot less rapping than back in the early days.
Don’t feel like the lack of radical stylistic departure signals stagnation though, because that is far from the case. The quality of the material here is unquestionably high. The melodic vocals are getting even more talented. The songwriting is as memorable as ever. The production is crisp, clean and satisfyingly beefy. Its yet another very strong album of the band doing what they do best, what more could you ask for?
The album is full of fun, bouncy, bangers like “Out Of My Mind,” “Our Apologies,” and “This Cold Reign” balanced by meaty mid paced groove like “How Many Times,” “We Are The Truth” and “Worlds Collide.” The variety comes from the slower moments like “Portraits Of The Poor,” “Childlike” and “Graveyard De Jour.” Perhaps the best track is “For Your Pleasure” that combines all those aspects as it builds from slow piano to metallic groove to speedy headbanger with passionate vocals.
There are some surprises too, such as an unexpected novelty cover song of British Pop singer Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and then there’s “Son Of 7” and the aforementioned “Worlds Collide” which have sections that feel strangely reminiscent of fellow Cleveland Ohio Metal band Chimaira.
Overall; if you are into this band then you should pick this album up for sure. Everything the band do well is done well yet again, and a new set of strong, enjoyable and memorable tracks are presented here, equaling anything else in the discography so far. There’s plenty here that would stand up to the best of anything else in the live setlist. The band are on fire and just keep the quality coming. Credit where credit is due, these are some talented guys who know how to write catchy, interesting tunes. If you are a lapsed fan, this could be a great album to pick up and find out what you’ve been missing out on lately.