Ben Koller can’t stay off the road for too long so he constantly finds ways to keep busy with one stick in each hand. With Mutoid Man he has convinced Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) to join him and play some metal for fun which resulted in an EP and now in the trio’s first album after they recruited Nick Cageo, St Vitus’ (the bar, not the band) soundman.
As far as band formation stories goes, this one seems very natural without any need to search for a special musician and the results feels the same. The chemistry between Brodsky and Koller is undeniable as they go from song to song mixing riffs very reminiscent of Mastodon‘s material (or Converge‘s more melodic songs) with the kind of drumming Koller has become famous for in Converge to create very upbeat tune. Despite an abundance of energetic fills, Koller‘s style is groovier and in accordance with Cageo’s round and crunchy bass tone.
Touring quite a lot in support of their first EP must have given the band a good sense of the direction in which they wanted to go in as the material found on Bleeder is very much focused. It’s also very refreshing to see Ben Koller playing something that sounds so playful after being associated mostly with aggressive and cathartic music almost all his career.
As for Brodsky, he pulls out the same kind of melodies that in the latest Cave In’s latest albums but with a much livelier results. Bleeder‘s songs are ready to be played live (Dead dreams featuring the vocals of Kevin Baker from All Pigs Must Die and The Hope Conspiracy) whereas White silence was mostly an album of musicians reuniting to play some more with no intention of making these songs come alive on stage.
With the exception of the bluesier title track at the end, featuring the haunting vocals of Sarabeth Linden, Bleeder is a metal album played with the intensity and feeling of good rock and roll. An album that feels alive, fresh and is quite simply infectious.