Album cover artwork for Mr Bungle Ranging Wrath demoWords | Tom Raucous

If you were like me in the ’90s – obsessed with Mr. Bungle (and all things Mike Patton) – then perhaps you were expecting the band’s fourth album to continue a lineage of popular culture subversion, and a willingness to weave between any and all musical genres.

However, this record is truly a return to their roots as a death/thrash metal act. it’s a prequel, actually, to their three cult releases – a remake of their earliest demo recording from 1986 (plus a few new tracks).

It gives me great joy to hear this music, which was conceived in the high school in which the original bandmembers met; the three surviving members (Patton on vocals, guitarist Trey Spruance, and bassist Trevor Dunn) must have been angry back then. With the addition of Scott Ian (Anthrax) on guitar and the mighty Dave Lombardo (Slayer) on drums, this album gets the full, weaponised line-up it deserves.

In essence, Mr. Bungle have once again delivered what they’ve come to be famous for: the opposite of whatever it was you were thinking. They almost looked positioned to create a pop album (of sorts) after 1999’s California, but no: Mr. Bungle will not pander to expectations.

Death metal heads are in for a treat with this one, and Bungle/Patton loyalists like myself are in for an education on where it all began.

The Raging Wrath Of The East Bunny Demo by Mr. Bungle is out Oct 30 via Ipecac Recordings/Liberator.

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