Wednesday, July 02 2014 00:31


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With all the coverage area I hit here on THE ROCK FATHER, there's times when the needle is so far over to the "family" side of things that I don't get to spend as much time over here in the "grownups" section as I'd like. That said, it's time to play a little bit of catch-up on some new releases from the metallic side of things, one of which hit the streets back in May - the latest album from MUSHROOMHEAD, THE RIGHTEOUS & THE BUTTERFLY.

MUSHROOMHEAD 2014I've crossed paths with MUSHROOMHEAD a few times over the years, once sharing the stage with them on a panel at a horror convention in Chicago at which they also played (part of my gig in a past life), and have enjoyed watching - and hearing - their evolution. Nine-members strong, the masked band has been around for over two decades, most recently adding a third vocalist to the mix with the return of Jason "J Mann" Popson, who joins Jeffrey Nothing and his one-time replacement, Waylon Reavis to lead the assault.

While most bands sound tired eight-albums in, MUSHROOMHEAD comes off as more polished - both sonically and visually - this time around, energized with new members in the mix, and the string section completely replaced with Tommy Church making his recorded MRH debut on guitars, and "Dr. F" on bass. The end result is an album that is both urgent, yet slightly uneven, but in the past two months has secured a place as one of my favorite albums of 2014 thus far, as I grow more fond of it with each listen.

Album opener "Our Apologies" should've been the first song out of the gate to radio, a simple, yet anthemic beast that's accessible enough to grab new listeners that might not be as inclined to embrace the more avant-garde side of MUSHROOMHEAD, a side well-represented here on tracks such as "Graveyard Du Jour," "For Your Pleasure," and the first video release, "QWERTY."

The contrast between the more straight-forward and aggressive tracks and the experimental makes for an interesting ride, and one of the more surprising moments comes at the end of the album, where MUSHROOMHEAD put their spin on ADELE with a dramatic reimagining of her massive hit, "Rumor Has It." Having already reworked SEAL's "Crazy" into a minor hit of their own back in 2003, I fully expect that this latest cover will grow legs in the months ahead.

With THE RIGHTEOUS & THE BUTTERFLY having made it's debut at #20 on the Billboard Top 200 (a well-deserved career high for the band), Summer 2014 should be a good one for MUSHROOMHEAD, as the band begins touring with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, KORN, ASKING ALEXANDRIA, TRIVIUM and more on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which kicks off this weekend in California. One of their most high-profile tours in recent years, it's a prime opportunity for new fans to experience MUSHROOMHEAD the way I got hooked - by seeing them live.

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THE ROCK FATHER Rating: 4/5 Stars
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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