East coast represent. Boston-bred punk-metallers MONGREL are back with a new EP, "Evolution", and followers of the group since their more raucous "Fear, Lies & Propaganda" album will be likely smiling how far this group has come since.MONGREL lured some high-caliber production personnel to "Evolution" including Jim Foster (P.O.D. , NULLSET), who recorded the five EP tracks, plus Dave Fortman (SLIPKNOT, MUDVAYNE, OTEP, EVANESCENCE and SOIL) and Howie Weinberg (METALLICA, PANTERA, NIRVANA and THE CULT), who mixed and mastered, respectively. What this equates into is MONGREL's most polished sound yet. While Adam Savage is the sole survivor of the band's original lineup, most of MONGREL's fans have taken to the current roster including Jessica Sierra (vocals), Mike "Hoagie" Hogan (drums) and "Blue" Mike Ariza (bass). The opening number, "Snakes", which has been floating around the web as a teaser, is a chewy little cooker with buzzing riffs and a tempered throb that merely suggests MONGREL's power. The subsequent track, "Oxygen Mask", continues to pull back the reins a hair, but the DANZIG-crusted choruses and chucking bass rolls from Mike Ariza gives the track some needed bite. On "Consumed", MONGREL finally dirties down and heavies up. Surrounding a sweaty bar rock-oriented chorus with huffing hardcore riffs guiding the verses, "Consumed" is a tidy yet natty exhibition of MONGREL's emerging professionalism. "Best Revenge" jumps right into the muck with low-filtered chords that are still rounded up in the way CORROSION OF CONFORMITY became famous (or infamous, depending on your view) for. In the case of "Best Revenge", the globby bass licks and Jessica Sierra's gluey pipe wrangling retains a filthy vibe no matter how taut the song gets. Saving the EP's best offering for last, "Over and Over" churns with Adam Savage's boss riffs, Mike Hogan's clobbering beats and Jessica Sierra's conscientious blend of tough huffing and elevating wails. Having such major league engineers in their camp for this go-round has brought an added tightness that may shed the rough skin of "Fear, Lies & Propaganda", but the compromise in transition hasn't equated into selling out. MONGREL's come quite a few miles on the momentum of press accolades, peer support and equipment sponsors. It's never easy to penetrate an overstuffed market, but if MONGREL gets under the right radar, there's no telling where their paths will lead at that point.
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