With epileptic fusion metal, boiled vocal screams and insane circus music mingling with frantic death grind, Radiation 4 sounds a lot like Mike Patton’s Mr. Bungle. This LA-based quartet has made an impressive debut album for sure, technically demanding and performed with tongues in cheeks and a general overriding sense of fucked-up genre-playfulness. It’s still pretty derivative, though; as if Radiation 4 were putting together a Listener’s Digest version of Patton’s manic metal, including all his twisted trademarks but leaving out the genuinely insane and unsettling elements of his music.
Radiation 4 may in fact be at their best when they loosen up some and take a bit longer to state their point. The disturbing “Silence Fiction” and parts of the drawn-out “The Prize” discard the frantic circus/metal hybrid in favor of mammoth post-hardcore ala Isis and Envy, and make for an interesting listening. No doubt, Radiation 4 is good at what they’re doing, and Wonderland is a pretty impressive debut album. However, this one somehow ends up sounding like a tribute album and a rather poor substitute for the real thing. These guys surely have a great album in them, but this, I’m afraid, isn’t it.
Abacus Recordings: http://www.abacusrecordings.com/