Most of the music I listen to nowadays is at work. I bought an MP3 player with one of my first paychecks and I pop an ear bud in and jam out to help pass the time. Unfortunately I purchased a cheap device and instead of downloading a 16 gigabyte music library and hitting shuffle, I have to download about 8 hours of songs and listen to the playlist all the way through. This has it’s upsides and downsides. I hate that I don’t have my entire music library with me at my fingertips and I have to wait to see what the next album is. On the other hand sometimes it takes me a whole week to get through the 3.9 gigabytes I have downloaded and by Thursday I cant for the life of me remember what’s on the thing.
This happened to me a few weeks ago when I heard an album I at first thought to be Slayer’s “Undisputed Attitude.” It took nearly the entire length for me to realize it wasn’t the thrash metal giants but a band from Toledo called Mobile Deathcamp. The band still hasn’t reached the heights of popularity, but after spinning “Black Swamp Rising” a few times it’s difficult to hear why. While groups like Metallica, Megadeth or Anthrax are playing the same tired old style that they’ve been working on for thirty years, Mobile Deathcamp lends new life to an old genre.
Singer/guitarist Todd Evans came from a gig playing bass as Beefcake the Mighty for GWAR, but there isn’t really any indication of that groups sound in the new band. While GWAR successfully mixed punk and metal, MD plays metal with a bit of a punk seasoning. And whereas his former band relies on elaborate productions and goofy costumes, Evans’ new group is all about the music.
The songs are definitely thrash metal but carry a heavy groove that makes them distinctively Mobile Deathcamp. “One Brain” and “Offensive Release” are both instrumentals focusing on some great soloing . “LSD (Lead Singers Disease” keeps the thrash groove rolling with a sense of humor and blistering leads. While Evans’ vocal delivery is similar to Tom Araya’s, instead of simply shouting about Satan and serial killers Evans actually sings. “Buffalo Song” is something of an anomaly. Two minutes of Native American chanting that I cant figure out. Though by the end the songs do start to blend together the fact that they’re short (the longest track is 3:39; most are under 3:00) keeps the album moving along and prevents it from getting stale. And once it’s over after 26 minutes you’re ready for another listen.
I’ve seen Mobile Deathcamp live twice. The first time was as the opening band at Mayhem Fest way back in 2009. While they played a good set it’s extremely hard to get excited about a metal band at 10:00 in the morning. They really shined when I saw them later on at the Carriage House (Gunt Punchers opened) and I did manage to have a drunken interview with Evans. Of course, that’s been several years ago now and I’ve since forgotten what he said or what we talked about, but I do remember being blown away by the band at that show. They played a fast brutal set composed of mostly originals and featuring a rousing cover of Devo’s “Freedom of Choice.” I’ve seen a ton of bands at the Carriage House, including the mighty Mushroomhead, but none have impressed me as much as Mobile Deathcamp. Watching them was having a freight train rushing toward me.
And I just stood on the tracks with a smile on my face.