Mephiskapheles

Mephiskapheles

Maximum Perversion

Moon Ska NYC

Prepare yourself for the unexpected. If you think you know Mephiskapheles on the basis of their 1994 debut, God Bless Satan, you’re wrong. Maximum Perversion is a demon of an altogether different color. Not only does nothing on Perversion sound like the debut disc, but no track on it sounds anything like any other! Meph experiment with such a broad range of styles that, at times, it’s hard to decide if this is really a ska album at all. For that reason, I’d wager that this will be one of the most controversial ska albums of the year. By happy coincidence, it’s also one of the most interesting.

Just as an example, take a listen to “Break Yer Ankle Punk,” a track that combines traditional-leaning ska with hip hop (skip-hop, if you will). I’m amazed nobody has tried it before, because the way Meph do it, it’s absolutely compelling. “Attack of the Geniuses” combines early-’70s pop radio horns (think early Chicago, except more jazzy) with an sinister-sounding organ for a downright spooky quality. “Bad Toupee” is Fishbone conducted by Danny Elfman. “Satan on the Beach” is more in the vein of the Articles or the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble. “Sate” sounds more like Onyx’s collaboration with Biohazard than anything else. “Foursome” has an almost-Latin color about it, while “Plan B” can only be described as ska-metal. Every time you think you’ve got the feel of this disc down, it makes another sharp left turn and you have to hold on for fear of being thrown from the ride.

So, is it ska? Well, yes, it is. Despite all the diverse influences, every track holds a solid ska groove as its base. What’s even more amazing is that it works, both on the individual tracks and on the album as a whole. The more you listen to this album, the more you’re drawn into it, like a moth to a flame. Be afraid, be very afraid. Mephiskapheles have come to wreak havoc, and no one is safe. Keep your children and your pets locked up! Moon SKA NYC, P.O. Box 1412, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276; http://www.moonska.com

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