Review Roundup: Bowling For Soup/Maruta/Extreme Mental Abuse

DISCLAIMER: I told you my questionable musical taste would become apparent, for which I make no apologies! I’m not ashamed to admit I indulge in Bowling For Soup once in a while – at least they don’t shaft their fanbase like some other aging pop-punk band…

Bowling For Soup

Fishin’ For Woos

Que-So/Brando

Bowling For Soup return for yet another album filled with party anthems and stupidity. If it’s progression you’re looking for, you won’t find it here. But BFS have always done silliness very well and don’t go out of their way to change the formula, even on album number 11. As far as potential anthems go – well, they certainly have potential, even if they’re not as immediate as previous hits such as ‘Girls All The Bad Guys Want’ and ‘I’m Gay’. But the singalongs are here in spades – ‘S-S-S-Saturday’ is going to be a live anthem for sure, and ‘Let’s Pretend We’re Not In Love’ is catchy as.

Obviously it’s not everyone’s bag, it’s not going to win them any serious awards, and you wonder how old they’ll get before they realise they’re getting a little too old for these shenanigans. – but hell, summer’s here, and it’ll be a soundtrack for a few pool parties and barbecues at least. And if you’re still not convinced, go see them live – that’s where they really excel.

Maruta
Forward Into Regression
Willowtip
Maruta’s biggest claim to fame lies in former drummer Nick Augusto, who now thumps the skins for Trivium. Both those bands are a world away from each other of course – Trivium are still struggling to wrestle away accusations of aping Metallica; on the flipside, Maruta are in no danger of this at all. ‘Forward Into Regression’ is a snarling, heavy beast and one designed at that to destroy the senses.

Forward…’ certainly has its moments – it starts off pretty well – ‘March Forward (Into Regression)’ and ‘Strain’ are explosive and tracks like ‘Solace (Through Self-Annihilation)’ and ‘Blood of the Luddite’ are vicious rippers to show exactly what Maruta are capable of. The guitars are nice and low in the mix as well and that serves to beef up their sound. That said, while it’s a nice step-up from debut album ‘In Narcosis’, it still feels as though Maruta are in the chasing pack, especially considering there’s already been some spectacular grind releases this year. They’ve got the potential to make that leap to the bigger leagues, but they’ve got to do a little more to stand out.

Extreme Mental Abuse
Extreme Mental Abuse
 
Finally in this round up, we have crusty death-grinders Extreme Mental Abuse. I don’t have a great deal of info about this band yet, other than that SSS bassist Mark Magill produced this album – I discovered them through an SSS Facebook update. It’s a mish mash of the aforementioned crust punk, death metal and grindcore to make up twenty politically-charged tracks in just over eighteen minutes. Everything’s low in the mix – the production is low-key, vocals guttural, everything suitably muddy indeed. Bish bash bosh. It’s not going to set pulses racing but its heavy and gritty and these guys do the job well. Fans of the early crust/grind eras may well find something to enioy here.
 

Extreme Mental Abuse’ is available as a free download from the band’s Bandcamp page.

Peter Clegg
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