Mumakil- Flies Will Starve

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, June 10, 2013

Four years after their last full length, Switzerland’s Mumakil have returned with more in your face grind. This new release is entitled Flies Will Starve and offers 36 minutes of fast heavy hitting instrumentals and abrasive vocals where the longest track just barely stretches past the two minute mark. It’s also my first time giving a proper listen to the band’s material, as they were a name I had seen mentioned before but hadn’t explored what they had to offer. Was the experience a positive one, and is this one of the genre highlights of the year?

The first thing just about every listener will notice about Flies Will Starve is the drum work. While grindcore by nature tends to have heavy hitting drums, this might be the most prominent I’ve heard them on an album in quite a bit. Mumakil has gone for a very modern production style that emphasizes intensity but cleans up the sound a bit, making the bass drum completely tear through the wall of sound and hit you right in the chest. Drummer Seb Schakr once again delivers a heavy hitting performance, and his level of skill is impressive as he’s always able to keep up with the frantic pace and maintain technically impressive and constantly changing ideas (Schakr left shortly after this album and Kevin Foley has taken over for the band as of this time). As for the rest of the instrumental work, the guitar and bass work in tandem to deliver a crunchy assault that has a familiar feel but changes just enough to keep it from feeling as though the band is simply repeating themselves from one song to the next.  While there aren’t quite as many standout moments on this effort when compared to some of the other grind albums I’ve been hooked by recently, when taken in as a whole body of work Flies Will Starve impresses with its almost overwhelming level of aggression and tight musicianship. Admittedly the same powerful drum arrangements that initially grabbed me proved to be a bit too much. The blasting bass drum was so dominant that it distracted me from what the rest of the instrumentalists were doing, and I think that might be one of the reasons not quite as many individual riffs stood out.

Vocals in grindcore can span just about every pitch imaginable, and Mumakil is able to pull from quite a few of these throughout their material. Their vocalist Thomas has one seriously pissed off growl that maintains an abrasive feel for almost the entire album, and his pitch deviates quite a bit to keep the performance from becoming stale. His primary pitch has a bit of an early metalcore vibe to it, but there are also some sections where he goes even deeper and sounds more like a death metal singer. Add in some higher shrieks that serve as backup from time to time, and you have a performance that maintains a versatile feel. This type of in your face vocal work is right up my alley, and it was great to find that the group didn’t let up for a single second.

The drums may have dominated the recording a bit too much and kept some of the riffs from sinking in, but I still really dig what Mumakil has to offer on Flies Will Starve. This type of aggressive grindcore that has a take no prisoners approach and blasts away with fast punchy riffs has always appealed to me, and as a result this is a group that I’ll be returning to. As far as genre releases go I’ve got to give the recent Antigama release the nod over this one, but this is definitely still a quality effort that grind fanatics should appreciate.

http://www.relapse.com

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