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CD REVIEW: MONGREL ??? Evolution [EP]

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Label: Unable Records

Release Date: June 3, 2014

Rating: 8.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I really dug the last release from Mongrel. Could they repeat the magic? The have exceeded with their latest effort, the EP Evolution. “Snakes” opens the disc and has a more straightforward rock approach to it than the last disc, and that is a welcome twist. The guitars are tight and the vocals more suited to the music. “Oxygen Mask” follows and we are treated to some heavy bass lines and a chugging riff that carries the track, while the vocals from Jessica Sierra take us on a cool journey. Sierra actually stepped back on this release and demonstrated that not everything has to be a scream and that she can actually sing. “Consumed” has a cool riff and groove that builds on the previous tracks and gives the band depth on the rock quotient. The charging drums and bass keep the track anchored while the guitars and vocals build into the chorus. “Best Revenge” has a fun sound that gets the foot tapping and should get a few fists in the air when the band plays this track live. The anthemic feel of the track is different from other songs – you have to hear it to understand, especially when the bass and drums kick in during the bridge. “Over And Over” is a great track that takes all the components of the other tracks and meshes them in one great track, especially Sierra’s vocals. They are perfect for this track, especially at the chorus. Now if we could just get them to play this stuff in Michigan – that would be an evening filled with great Rock N Roll.

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Mongrel - Evolution EP (Unable Records) CD Review Written by Dom Daley

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 7:25 AM

In the face of adversity and with a seemingly constant battle with line up changes Mongrel visionary and guitarist Adam Savage never once questioned what he was doing and wouldn't rest until his quest was complete and he had a steady band line up that believed and were as committed as he. The result of such unwavering self-belief is 'Evolution', and although its only five tracks it oozes passion and commitment and that quality shines through in the delivery and performance.

The first thing you notice is what a powerhouse this band has in frontwoman Jessica Sierra who has glass shattering pipes, singing with real attitude that really grabs the listener. Opening tune 'Snakes' begins with a groove that's heavy as a breeze block and away goes Mongrel. It’s a familiar mix of metal and punk and the tunes are always brimming with attitude. 'Snakes' is the perfect tune to induct listeners into what this band does and does best.

'Oxygen Mask' builds as the power chords fall from the sky and the bass grabs you with a bright tone before they all work together in that familiar Mongrel groove. 'Consumed' has the heaviness whilst the guitars tries to hypnotise the listener with its riff-a-rama. That punk attitude I mentioned is right in your face on 'Best Revenge' before this brief dalliance is brought to a close with 'Over And Over' with its punchy bass line before the band’s heaviest riff to date slams in and pounds your senses in. You know in fact there are parts of this EP that reminds me of Uber Rock’s very dear friends Bad Sam who maybe attack this music from the punk/metal crossover whereas Mongrel do it the other way around and are metal/punk (when you hear it you'll understand).

So if you like your music to have attitude and lots of loud guitars then get this EP from this East Coast outfit that have plenty of bite to go with their bark, and testify that the Mongrel evolution continues stronger and more hardcore than ever before.

Source: Uber Rock

Femetalism Interviews Mongrel

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 12:05 AM

Mongrel is a female fronted aggressive rock band with punk and metal influences that was started in 2003 and is based in Boston, MA. Originally featuring a male vocalist, the lead vocalist spot came up in 2010 and Jessica Sierra stepped up. The band have gone on to tour and release a number of EP's and an album as a female fronted ensemble. On June 3rd they release their new EP - Evolution.

Founding member Adam Savage spoke to Femetalism recently about the band, their new release and their future plans. Can you give us a brief history to Mongrel - how you came together and your previous releases?

I started the band back in 2003 with our original singer Matt Rowe with the intent of creating a band where the emphasis was good songs regardless of what influences we wanted to bring to the table. Over the next 7 years we had multiple singers, bassists and drummers come and go. We released a few EP's and a full length CD that got picked up by an indie label and did fairly well. In 2010 we had parted ways with our long term male singer, had gotten a new male singer who left abruptly due to some personal issues and I called upon the only singer in the local scene I thought could cover some shows on just a few days notice...this was Jessica Sierra. While it was initially intended just to be a short term fill-in situation, it worked FAR too well and really brought the material to a whole new level. Jess and I had been friends for years in the local scene and I was a fan of her as a singer since I'd first encountered her performing. Jess threw her name in the hat for the job (and even insisted on going through the audition process even though she was about 10 shows in with us at that point - she wanted no doubts that she EARNED her spot). From that point on there was no doubt that Mongrel was to be a female-fronted band.

We shortly there after hit the studio and re-recorded 6 songs from our prior album with the new line up and this was released in September 2010 as "The New Breed of Old School". We thought it best to let the fans adjust to the drastic change vocally (and conceptually) by letting them judge the sound with Jess on songs they were familiar with already. It went over great and the band was off and running full force once again. In 2011 we released another EP entitled "Declamation" (which also featured our cover of the Misfits classic "Dig Up Her Bones") as a prelude to the 2012 full length CD "Reclamation" (on THC Music / Vanity Music Group) which spawned two videos/singles "Bored to Death" and "C & a 1/2".

We ended up replacing the drummer and bassist and in time brought in Mike "Hoagie" Hogan on drums and Michael "Blue" Ariza on bass. With this new configuration we started the writing process again and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, hit the studio in the summer of 2013 to record the "Evolution" EP. We put out the preview single "Snakes" in October 2013 and will be releasing "Evolution" on Unable Records worldwide on June 3rd.

Over the years we've gotten to play with some great bands as well including Danzig, Korn, Lacuna Coil, Misfits, Sepultura, Godsmack, Otep, Butcher Babies, Halestorm, etc. How would you describe the bands sound?

Jess has gotten comparisons vocally ranging from Janis to Otep to Wendy O to Skin (Skunk Anansie), musically it's somewhere in the realm of aggressive hard rock but with old school punk and metal influences. So somewhere between Guns N' Roses, Misfits, Motorhead and old Metallica but with a badass powerhouse of a female singer. Can you describe each member of the band in 3 words (including yourself)?

Jess - force of nature Blue - artistic, funny, squirrel (in the easily distracted sense - lol) Hoagie - loyal, enthusiastic, drummer (obvious I know but he's ALL about playing, can't sit still without tapping stuff, etc) Adam - reluctant leader, taurus (determined, stubborn, driven) Can you tell us about the new EP - Evolution?

Lyrically I think a lot of it is just about life and those we interact with. It doesn't touch on the political/societal elements we have in the past as much but themes include betrayal, negative situations we find ourselves and those we love in, and about making the present count and overcoming. Music is our therapy essentially, it is cathartic so a lot of the lyrics are a working through of frustrations, anger, etc. Overall though this was the most collaborative release Mongrel has ever done. Jess wrote the lyrics for the track "Consumed", Blue brought in the main riff for "Over and Over" and the bassline that really made "Oxygen Mask" into something special. I contributed the lyrics for the other 4 tracks and a lot of the music but we really worked out arrangements more as a band unit this time, the monster that is Mongrel had evolved for sure

We recorded at Red 13 Media in Framingham MA (US) with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Thy Will Be Done, Sully Erna) who had recorded and mixed everything we'd done since Jess joined the band. Thanks to the help of our supporters and the kickstarter campaign we were able to bring in Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Otep, Evanescence, Snot, Godsmack, American Head Charge) to mix the CD and Howie Weinberg (Metallica, Pantera, The Cult, Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc) to master it. What do you like about playing live? Which Mongrel song is your favourite to perform live and why?

The connection with the audience is the best part, the release of energy and emotion and the exchange of it with the people listening, moving, singing along is the greatest feeling. That's always hard for me since they're all sort of my "children" to use the old cliche and at certain times it's one, others something completely different. Seeing "Snakes" and "Over and Over" from the new CD instantly become sing alongs and crowd favorites even before a recorded version was released has been really cool though so those are currently at the top of the list.

What is next for Mongrel?

We're releasing the "Evolution" CD worldwide on June 3rd, we just got a track on the cover mount CD with an issue of Terrorizer Magazine, we've got a video coming out very shortly for "Oxygen Mask" from the new CD, lots of great shows coming up including our official CD release party in NYC on June 7th, a cancer treatment and research benefit show, and a show in August with Powerman5000 & Hed(pe). We're also in various stages of working on videos for the rest of the tracks on the "Evolution" CD and in writing tunes that will make up the next CD whenever that will be. Things are looking good and we're having a blast.

One of the goals is definitely to try to get over to the UK as we've gotten a great response from the sites/mags over there so far, so as soon as we can make that work and make sense it's definitely on the "things we must do" list.

Femetalism would like to thank Adam for taking the time to talk to us. We are looking forward to hearing about possible UK dates from the band in the future and hoping for a date up North!

Source: Femetalism


Posted on May 31, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Metal punk rockers Mongrel are at it again with their newest EP release "Evolution" along with getting signed to record label Unable Records. Guitarist Adam Savage discusses this EP and future plans including touring and playing shows here and there.

1. Your name is Mongrel which in other terms is a type of dog - why use a dog as your mascot/icon, what does it represent for you guys?
Adam: Well by definition a "Mongrel" is a mixed-breed, a hybrid if you will, and this band is certainly that with our mix of personalities and influences that make the whole a unique creation. As for the dog as our icon, it gives an embodiment of sorts to this creation and the imagery goes with the strength and aggression in the music. It's not like using Moris the Cat (tm) would be well suited now. ;)

2. How did you guys come to get signed with Unable Records? How has the relationship with them been so far?
Adam: I kind of stumbled into them online not long ago actually and on an impulse (instinct?) I hit them up to find out more about the label as we were exploring distribution options for the new CD"Evolution". They checked out the upcoming CD and really dug it, so Mike (Ransom) from the label and I talked further, hit it off great and it just felt "right" and meant to be, so we continued the conversation and the rest is (recent) history. So far the relationship is great. Mike and his crew at Unable are very supportive, very into the band and the music, and it seems like they have that similar drive and hunger to see how far we can take this just like we do. Couldn't ask for better so far!

3. What's your take on "Evolution" as a whole?
Adam: Personally I think it's the best thing we've ever put out. I think the songs are some of the best we've written. The recordings are the best we've ever done. It just sounds powerful and punchy and really showcases what we're doing. Joey James killed it with the artwork. We're all just all around really proud of this CD. It's also the first recordings with Hoagie (drums) and Blue (bass) which adds a bit of excitement to it for all of us as well. Another really cool aspect of "Evolution" is that the fans are a big part of it and were vital to making it happen through their joining with us via the Kickstarter campaign last summer. It wouldn't have been what it is without them and we're very lucky and grateful for our amazing fans and friends who believe in us so strongly.

4. What's the story behind "Evolution"?
Adam: With our prior album "Reclamation" we felt we fully re-established the band with Jess on vocals, we reclaimed the band and it's identity. With the past now settled, it was time for the band to grow, to move forward, to evolve if you will. We now had Hoagie on drums and Blue on bass and the band finally was a full-out band once again. Everyone had a part in the writing process for these songs, it was a much more true "band" now...the organism of the band had evolved, the growth was evident to all of us, and the incredible artist, Joey James (Otep, Butcher Babies, Type O Negative, Life of Agony, Biohazard) even brought a new and improved revamp to our dog skull logo making it bigger and badder than ever. It truly just felt like the band had changed for the better, and the Evolution process had fully come to be.

5. What's your favorite song on the EP right now?
Adam: It's hard to say, I really like all of them, but I'll go with "Oxygen Mask" as that's going to be the next single from it and we're in the editing stages of the video we'll be putting out with it. We had so much fun filming this video and I think people will have a lot of fun watching it so that will put "Oxygen Mask" over the top at the moment though "Consumed" and "Over & Over" are a very close second.

6. Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?
Adam: I think it's more about the story than the "visuals" in the songs. We're not Tool where we have 12 minutes to give a full blow by blow description of the scenery, it's more cutting to the chase of the ideas and story within the song and letting the listener envision it as it makes sense and applies to them. If they connect with what we're saying and talking about, we don't fully need to tell them what it looks like, they probably have a good idea based on their own experiences.

7. What would be the cinematic equivalent of "Evolution"?
Adam: I actually don't watch a ton of movies so this might be a stretch but perhaps something like Pulp Fiction in that it's multiple stories, each that packs a punch, in their own way are connectable, and at the end you want to watch it (listen to it) again and (hopefully) love it and connect with it even more.

8. What was it like working with Jim Foster, Dave Fortman, and Howie Weinberg on this release? What did they bring to the table for you guys?
Adam: It was great. This is the 4th time Jess (Sierra, our singer) and I have recorded with Jim (Foster) so we're really comfortable working with him, he truly "gets" us and knows how to get the best out of us while still having a great time. Blue and Hoagie clicked with him great as well so recording went really well. Dave Fortman has worked with some amazing bands (Slipknot, Otep, Snot, Evanescence) and knows how to bring out a balsy full-on aggressive mix which was perfect for this and he'd worked with Jim before on some stuff for Sully Erna/Godsmack so that transition of the music from Jim to Dave's hands was perfect. Howie's probably worked on nearly 85% of my favorite albums of all time (Metallica, Pantera, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Public Enemy, etc) so getting him to give the tracks that final bit of polishing was just the icing on the cake so to speak. I'm really honored that we got to work with such great people who've helped make some albums I love (besides our new one I mean - lol ).

9. Where is the new material sound-wise headed as far as future releases? Are you guys working on the follow-up or nothing as of yet?
Adam: We've started writing some more stuff that'll be towards the next time tables set at this point but we're a few songs into the process already and it's continuing on the evolutionary path we've been on with more collaboration in the song writing and the tunes are definitely coming out great.

10. Do you guys plan on going on tour or playing shows, what else can we expect to see from you guy for this year?
Adam: For the immediate future we'll be playing a series of CD release parties in the northeastern US that's already started; May 30th at Mad Bobs in Manchester NH; June 7th at R-Bar in NYC, June 21st at The Limelight in Haverhill MA (Dana Farber Cancer Center Benefit), and June 28th at Simon's677 in Providence RI. We're still keeping an eye on the UK and we'll see what opportunities come up with the new CD beyond that. We also have a few videos planned for songs from "Evolution" so it looks like it'll be an exciting year.

11. Is that your final answer?
Adam: Maybe. ;) Well actually this is since it's the last question you asked. :)

Source: Natalie's World

Single Review: Mongrel: Snakes!

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 9:40 PM

mongrel, a female fronted rock band from Boston have released their first single ‘Snakes’ from their first EP ‘Evolution’, and we must say, it’s a very unusual but intriguing sound. 

It’s not often you come across female vocals in a band with Punk and Metal influences, but this track has proved that females are just as good in a stereotypical male genre. The sound that is produced from Mongrel is very distinctive and you can definitely hear the hint of Metal weaving it’s way through the track.

With a very reputable team working with the band, Mongrel have certainly got a path set out for them which will give them a high platform into the music industry. ‘Snakes’ is well worth a listen for all you rock gods out there, or even if you fancy something a bit different and unique to listen to!

Source: New Reviews


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