Review: “Red Zone Tapes (Vol. 1)” from Road Mutant

It has been a phenomenal debut year for Road Mutant. Thomas Cronin, Charlie Pearce, Jay Rutterford, Calvin Chadwick and Sam Edwards have shared stages with Climate of Fear, Jungle Rot, Annotations of an Autopsy, Gets Worse and Inhuman Nature to name but a few, while delivering cuts from their debut EP “Back To The Green Zone”. By the time the second coming of Upsurge Festival is upon us, their second release in the last 8 months entitled “Red Zone Tapes (Vol. 1)” will have been out for a handful of days and the new tracks will no doubt go down a storm live. The band, who feature in their ranks members of This is Colour but no longer The Boy Will Drown with drummer Ed Bell stepping away to be replaced by Calvin Chadwick followed up their debut live show at Upsurge Festival’s own debut by releasing “Live From The Red Zone (Sector 4776)” as an official bootleg so they’re no strangers to the cassette format! Returning to record with Sam Thredder at Cro’s Nest Studio (Dead Swans, Hang the Bastard, TRC, More Than Life) while being lucky enough to retain the services of Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Candy, Cavalera Conspiracy, Trapped Under Ice) for the Mixing and Mastering for this new pair…

…The first thing that you’ll notice straight off the bat is that while “Back To The Green Zone” had 4 songs at an average of 3 and a half minutes, both of the new tunes weigh in at 5! “Red Zone Rippers” kicks in with 10 seconds or so of feedback before a galloping riff and drum pattern drives into a lead flourish with a whammy bar closing. We haven’t even reached 60 seconds. Frontman Charlie Pearce has changed his vocal style ever so slightly, perhaps coming down to experience in the live arena, with more gravity and weight to his voice across both cuts, while the killer face melting solo and tempo shift for a slow stomp mosh at for the last 90 second seconds is simply a masterstroke. The use of the whammy bar is a distinct nod to all of those Crossover Thrash bands like Power Trip or even older Thrashers like Sodom with sharp drops that sound electrifying while the powerhouse kit performance is just thunderous throughout. Arthur Rizk has done a fantastic job of the mix with a clean and crisp sound and feedback kept to a minimum. “Becoming Dead” has more of an Exodus vibe about it with a personal lyric and while Charlie Pearce has quite a dry vocal usually, he drops the tone to deliver a few deep growls more akin to Death Metal that adds that extra punch in the face factor. As with “Red Zone Rippers” the tempo shifts and chord progressions are a core component of the Road Mutant sound and with this cut they come in waves giving the whole thing a powerful rise and fall sonic. It’s clear that Road Mutant have outdone themselves having honed their collective skills on the stage like sharpening a knife on a Whetstone. [9/10]

Track list

  1. Red Zone Rippers
  2. Becoming Dead

“Red Zone Tapes (Vol. 1)” by Road Mutant will be released on 9th August with and is available in physical form here


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