Mongrel – The New Breed of Old School

If The Misfits and Metallica collaborated on a Guns N? Roses tribute album, with members of Motorhead and Nickelback joining in the fray, it might sound similar to Mongrel?s latest EP The New Breed of Old School. The four-piece from Massaschusetts has a new line-up, including vocalist Jessica Sierra, and this EP is a re-release of six tracks from 2008 debut Fear, Lies, & Propaganda. When bands usually re-record material, it comes across as either a filler between albums or an opportunity for record labels to suck more money out of the consumer. Mongrel?s approach is neither of these two, putting the spotlight on Sierra and taking steps towards a legimitate reputation that is not just a bland sum of all their influences.

The original versions of these songs were styled with a punk mentality, with snarling vocals barking about the injustices of society and a grittiness that put the emphasis on the guitars. The New Breed of Old School takes these tracks and injects them with a metal punch, hitting way harder than before. The band gets into thrash territory with the galloping riffs of opener ?West Memphis Hell,? though it is the only time that the band flirts with this sound. Much of the EP is driving hard rock that is bolstered by the meaty production that gives the instruments the power that was lacking on previous releases.

The New Breed Of Old School is the first recording with Sierra on vocals, and she does a fabulous job. The band had male vocalists in the past, but the female vocals add a sultry vibe to the slower songs like ?Bound to Crash? and a bitter rage to the uptempo ?The World Loves A Tragedy.? Her voice fits in like a snug puzzle piece, as the songs come off better with her wide range. The rest of the band isn?t as impressive, sticking to the original source material with only a little deviation.

This EP is far from disposable, and while there aren?t any new songs, fans may want to pick it up just to hear how the band sounds with a female vocalist and a heavier sound. Those hearing the band for the first time will find the EP to be an appetizer of sorts, a taste test to see if the blend of hard rock, metal, and punk suits the pallet. Mongrel is working on a new album now, and while The New Breed Of Old School is a strong indication that the band is going ahead with unlimited momentum, the next release will be a real test of how far they have come since Fear, Lies, & Propaganda.

Rating: 6.5
Label: Immolation Records

By Dan Marsicano

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