Mushroomhead, along with HIM, has basically captured the hearts of young dark-minded teenagers looking for something heavy and spooky. Whereas HIM has a penchant for 1980s guitar rock stylings, Mushroomhead showcase their love for heaving, buzzing metal guitars on XIII.
The songs on XIII are over-dramatic, kitschy, posed and not sincere in the least. What these guys do have going for them is one of the best heavy, de-tuned guitar tones I’ve ever heard. Their guitar prowess is best evidenced on “Becoming Cold.” It’s hard to describe, but they’re as striking to me as was Korn’s unique bass tone when I first heard it, back in the early 1990’s. Young guitarists should give this album a listen just for an example on how to totally kick ass when playing guitar.
Sadly, the vocalist for Mushroomhead, a gentleman named J Mann, has a gothic-crossed-with-Scott-Stapp voice so overdone and fake that it nearly induced me to vomit. To make matters worse, there is another vocalist named Jeffery Nothing who does this kind of scream vocal thing in the background that’s supposed to sound tough and intimidating, but it’s just repulsive. It’s really too bad, actually, as the musicians in Mushroomhead are really strong and they come up with some pretty devastating riffs and drum lines.
By the way, these guys wear funny costumes like the members of Slipknot. The only difference is that Slipknot actually makes decent metal, while these guys have yet to figure out that a vocalist must be as tough as a band’s music.