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Mongrel - "The New Breed Of Old School" (CD/EP)

Mongrel - "The New Breed Of Old School" CD/EP cover image

"The New Breed Of Old School" track listing:

1. West Memphis Hell
2. I Refuse
3. Shut Up, Get Dead
4. Bound To Crash
5. Houdini Act
6. The World Loves A Tragedy

Reviewed by on January 8, 2011

"You may have heard these songs before, but until you hear this EP, you've never heard them played to their full potential."

Normally, when a band decides to re-record old material with a new lineup, the results are somewhat less than spectacular. What a relief, then, that Mongrel's "The New Breed Of Old School" actually bucks that trend and improves on the originals. Fans of punk-tinged metal a la Motorhead are going to find plenty to love here.

The first thing people who've heard "Fear, Lies & Propaganda," the album this material was culled from are going to notice are the vocals — initially because, unlike the original, they're delivered by a female, and thereafter because Jessica Sierra just plain kicks ass. She can do the Wendy O. thing on the speedy Motorhead-ish "West Memphis Hell" and "I Refuse," but also adds a dose of feminine swagger and stronger melody to "Bound To Crash."

Sierra's not the only improvement. The rest of the band — particularly guitarist Adam Savage — seems more energized this go-round, with tracks like the hypocrisy-bashing "The World Loves A Tragedy" having quite a bit more heft as a result.

Also, the new versions just plain sound better, with a little more effort on the production side. Does that sand off some of the rough edges that made the original DIY-sounding version good? Yeah, but little touches like a tiny flub in the guitar part in "Bound To Crash" keep things from sounding too clean.

Superior to the original versions in nearly every way, the songs on Mongrel's "The New Breed Of Old School" are given a new life by the band's new lineup. You may have heard these songs before, but until you hear this EP, you've never heard them played to their full potential.

Highs: Jessica Sierra's vocals; a more focused band.

Lows: None to speak of, though some of the DIY charm of the original does get lost in the superior production.

Bottom line: An excellent EP of punk-tinged metal tracks.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)