The Mongoloids – Mongo Life
New Jersey, USA’s, The Mongoloids have been a well known name in the world wide hardcore scene for a few years now, having previously released two well received LP’s and a few splits since their inception in 2005. They’ve toured the US and Europe several times now, and they’ve been great live every time I’ve seen them or booked a show for them. For those unaware, The Mongoloids play a heavy mid tempo brand of hardcore not dis-similar to The Cro-Mags or Life Of Agony, with a distinct sense of humour. Their first full length, 2007’s ‘Time Trials’ was a groove laden heavyweight of a record that you quite simply, ‘got’ or you didn’t. The band has survived an almost entire line up change since that time, and although their follow up album ‘Assorted Music’ had several good tracks on it, the record disappointed me as a whole for a number of reasons. So can ‘Mongo Life’, their new record, restore them in my eyes (ears)?.
Things seem a little different from the get-go, as the album opens with a short acoustic track, although there’s some high pitch guitar notes whining behind it, to give it that Mongoloids feel. This leads into a track which I shall refer to as ‘Youth Of Today’, due to me not having song titles at the time of ‘going to press’, and the tracks recurring hook of those words. Initially, all seems well, as the band powers through a groove laden slab of metallic hardcore, although there’s a few noticeable changes from previous Mongoloids efforts. Over the course of the album it becomes apparent that their penchant for lumbering breakdowns in songs has been replaced with a tendency to use more melodic hooks, and Greg’s trademark guttural vocals that usually accompany these breaks has ‘matured’ into a well polished singing voice.
Now, as much as this is a continuation of the direction the band were heading in with ‘Assorted Music’, and I should be objective on this record alone, rather than compare it to their previous material, I can’t help but feel that some of the sense of humour that made The Mongoloids stand out in an over saturated genre has been lost. Sure, there’s still plenty of those groovy riffs you expect from The Mongoloids, but I can’t help but be a bit disappointed when it leads into a recurring chorus instead of an obnoxious breakdown. That being said, the majority of the album is still a well written and produced example of the genre, even if it doesn’t do much for me due to my previous experience with the band. However, in what seems like a bit of a thin attempt at varying things a little, the last track on the album is another acoustic number, this time with a distinctly more country and western feel to it (you know those Family Guy cut away skits with that guy from the 70’s playing country music that go on for far too long? It sounds like that). I’m no country aficionado, but I’m fairly certain it sucks. The lyrics to this particular song are cringe-worthy, and their decision to round out the album with it left me with a sour taste from what might have otherwise been a passable record.
Overall, I was somewhat hesitant to rip into this album to the extent I wanted to, as I’m quite aware that there will be lots of people who’ve not heard the Mongoloids before, or dug the feel of Assorted Music, that will really enjoy this record. For me though, Mongo Life is ‘Best Wishes’ to Time Trial’s ‘Age Of Quarrel’, and represents a continuing decline in their recorded material. I think the best solution would have been to make ‘new jokes’, rather than stop making jokes at all. The band always kill it live however, so I’d still recommend any of our European readers check them out with Wrong Answer this summer!Back to reviews overview