When Faith No More introduced new vocalist Mike Patton on 1989’s The Real Thing, they followed the path of metal bands like Mordred and Death Angel and applied a more polished sheen with Sadé-like jazz pop and more bumping funk. The success of Faith No More, in turn, landed Patton’s other band, the decidedly weirder Mr. Bungle, a major label contract, introducing a mainstream audience to an unlikely weirdo art prog group. Now, 20 years after their last release, Patton once again turns expectations upside down. Mr. Bungle returned to their early underground demo, re-recording its original tracks, and brought along Anthrax’s Scott Ian and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo (who also plays alongside Patton in Dead Cross). Guitarist Trey Spruance and bassist Trevor Dunn have stuck with Patton, not for the Zappa like circus music you might expect but for the ’80s-style thrash of their roots.
The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny doesn’t reveal any shade of their signature freak show until “Raping Your Mind.” By and large, the album more uniformly hews closer to the heaviness of Faith No More’s “Surpise You’re Dead” than any of Bungle’s more far-out progressive impulses. Which isn’t a bad thing—they easily accomplish what they set out to do here. And it’s impressive that Patton can still pull off this brand of metal with as much vigor as he does. With Dead Cross, in fact, he’s recently done something similar.
The wackiness is the exception to the rule on Easter Bunny, though on “Hypocrites” the band offer a little more of it before merging into a cover of S.O.D’s “Speak English or Die.” Then there is “Bungle Grind,” which takes some of that S.O.D. influence and merges it with Death Angel. Which is true to the era in which it was originally written, and with Scott Ian in tow is pretty easy to achieve. “Methmatics” has a more rock ‘n’ roll vibe to it, proving to be short-lived as they blast back into thrash metal. As the song progresses, you might pick up on a riff that would eventually become “Love is a Fist.” “Spreading the Thighs of Death” finds them back at warp-speed thrash, while “Loss For Words” sounds like it would have been filler on a Gwar album.
Though this album might scarcely resemble the oddball antics of Mr. Bungle as we know them, as far as thrash albums go, The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny is great. It provides a clearer picture of where the band came from—they were a metal band that went weird. The band’s fan base goes beyond metal; those who are typically more into John Zorn or Secret Chiefs-style music then this might come as a disappointment. But for those who come from more of a metal background, this history lesson will take you back to the days where thrash underwent a mutation during the boom of alternative rock.