When Mr. Bungle announced their first shows in nearly 20 years last August, fans worldwide rejoiced that their beloved Bungle had finally awoken after laying dormant for almost 20 years.
But just like their 3 full-length albums, nothing is ever predictable, and details soon emerged that this would not be the funhouse Mr. Bungle of the self-titled album. Nor would it be the dark electronics of Disco Volante. Hell, it wouldn’t even be the light summer breeze of California.
No, these live shows would be a revisiting of their first thrash metal demo dating all the way back to 1986. The legendary demo known as The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny.
To pull this off would be no mean feat. Bungle members have scattered to the four winds over the last couple decades, so the core of the band, vocalist Mike Patton, bassist Trevor Dunn and guitarist Trey Spruance hit up a couple of genre ringers to help them out. The first was an easy get. Slayer veteran Dave Lombardo has been a Patton partner-in-crime for over 20 years, working together in bands like Fantômas and Dead Cross. The second guitarist was more of a shot in the dark, which thankfully hit the mark and Anthrax’s Scott Ian became the final piece of the puzzle.
Well, the shows sold out in a matter of minutes and went off without a hitch in February of this year. They became for many folks, their last show before the Covid Curtain came crashing down on every venue in the country.
Thankfully, these shows were not the final chapter in the story and Bungle went into the studio to re-record the demo with the new lineup. For any of you familiar with the original demo, there was a desperate need of a sonic upgrade. After all, a bunch of teenage miscreants roaming the streets of Eureka, California couldn’t be expected to have Johnny Z produce their demo, could they?
So here we are, 34 years later and Wrath now sounds fresh-as-a-fucking-daisy. Ian and Spruance trade off licks well, with Ian showing why he’s still one of the best rhythm guitarists in the biz. “Raping Your Mind”, “Anarchy Up Your Anus”, “Spreading the Thighs of Death”, all sound just like being back in high school behind the smoke hut with the boom box. It’s clear from the outset that they’re all having a blast. It’s a beautiful improvement on the original demo complete the Disney Haunted House samples first used in 1986 and recreated with narrative help of actress Rhea Perlman (Pattonphiles will get this connection). But anyone familiar with Patton, Spruance and Dunn know that these guys don’t do anything for nostalgia’s sake. Think of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy. Each film essentially a new and improved remake of itself. So if the original demo is the first tiny budget Evil Dead, consider this the Army of Darkness version.
*If you, like me, was one of the poor bastards who missed out on the live shows, you have one last chance on October 31st with a very special, ultra-spooky, pretty gory and most likely satan-invoking virtual concert experience billed as “The Night They Came Home”. Tickets and merch bundles can be found here:
8.0 / 10
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