Mushroomhead – Superbuick

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Dude, these dudes are on acid… Everything’s like subliminal and all mixed-tunes and shit. It’s weird, man. 

Mushroomhead’s second full-length album Superbuick was released in 1996 and is commonly referred to as being the band’s greatest work. Featuring familiar elements that carry over from the first album along with some new twists and turns, Superbuick is another trip down the dark, cracked and bleary streets of Cleveland, Ohio. Utilizing biting guitars, crisp piano playing, various TV & movie snippets and the unmistakable growl and shriek of co-singers J Mann and Jeffrey Nothing, Mushroomhead spend 46-minutes in the odd world of avant garde metal music that they know all too well.

If Mushroomhead’s first album was the kind-of-fun, hillbilly-house-party rave, then Superbuick is the post-date-rape, wake up feeling groggy not knowing where you are, trapped in a box in a cellar, soundtrack to a murder scene. This album definitely has a sinister overtone to it all. Somebody is having fun but it definitely isn’t the victim.

Now, onto some artwork.

Like the reissue of their self-titled album, Superbuick had the album artwork slightly altered for the vinyl debut. The front showcases the same basic imagery but it has been given a once-over with the grunge treatment. The previous artwork featured the same car grille but the band name was pure white with no album title along the bottom (the CD featured the album title in the clear plastic bit to the left of the case). They’ve now added a texture to both the logo and title. A lot of fans love that original artwork so I’m not completely sold on this being a good idea, but it’s there and done in an alright fashion. And just like every other album of theirs, there is no artwork on the spine. Hell, on these two latest vinyl releases there isn’t even a spine to speak of. Just a fold.

The paper stock that was chosen has a bit of a grit to it but I suspect that is down to cost and not necessarily a conscious decision. I would think that if it was purposeful then it would have been a heavier paper stock and it would feel quite a bit more substantial. Whatever the case, the chosen paper works and adds a bit of flavor to the package.

The logo and title are set in the typeface “Halfway House” by House Industries. This would be their logo going forward until around ’99 or 2000 (I think). I just remember looking for this font for hours and then learning that it was a pay-only font. I was so bummed. Finding this font back in the day was like being in possession of a pure gold bar for a MRH fan. Once I finally came across the font I was making Photoshop brushes, desktop backgrounds and all sorts of the stupid shit you do as a fan. It was great. Simpler times…

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The back follows the same formula as the rest of the package. Tweak the design a little from the old version and Presto!, complete. Although this holds true, they actually went a bit further with this album. The image on the back of the original CD was a live photo of the band but this is obviously not that image. I am venturing into the world of assumption here but I think it’s safe to say that the image wasn’t high-resolution enough to be used. They seem to not be shying away from their history within the band so I don’t want to believe that it’s purely because some ex-members may be in the photo. Whatever the case, this works just fine as a stand-in. The song titles are still at the top. The liner notes still sit at the bottom. They really grunged-up the car for the back of the jacket, though. I actually like this treatment. Crusty and disgusting just the like the music within.

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There wasn’t a special color for this vinyl release (maybe someday) but it plays well and that’s all that matters. The labels on the record have a nice purple tone that matches the jacket and that’s about all they have going on. Simple. No need to rock the boat at this point.

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I love this album. I have listened to it too many times to count and it really doesn’t ever get old. On the first/last track of the album, “Bwomp,” J Mann dives headfirst into the world of fast rapping, no doubt influenced by fellow Cleveland musicians Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. You might think that sounds super weird but it totally works. If you can stand to listen to other Nu-Metal bands and you aren’t too “trve” to appreciate other genres then I say give it a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised by this song and album.

Other tracks have the classic mid-tempo MRH vibe that has a creepy feeling about it all. I think this is where they fit in best and I really wish they would step back into the realm of clear piano playing and simplistic guitars. A lot of it is down to the mixing of the album and how it lacks a lot of warmth and fatness. It’s not a detriment. It’s really the opposite and it is what most fans will refer to as the classic sound for the band.

3 Songs to Never Let Go

Bwomp
Flattened
Idle Worship

Superbuick on Wikipedia
Mushroomhead Webstore
Mushroomhead Tour Dates
Mushroomhead Website

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