Radiation 4

Picture of Radiation 4

Wonderland

Radiation 4 - Wonderland ©2003 Abacus Recordings
1. Silence Fiction
2. Tick, Tock, Tick
3. Love Through Tapeworm Hooks
4. When Animals Attack
5. Wonderland
6. John Vs. The Elephant
7. Magnolia Act I
8. Magnolia Act II
9. The Prize

If it's been awhile since a mildly psychotic band has turned your ear on its side, Radiation 4 might just be for you. Blending a completely off the wall mixture of mathematical hardcore (in mildly the same territory as Botch) with the insane genre wrenching of Mr. Bungle, this four piece from California has come with one of the more brain twisting releases I've heard in quite awhile. Though the majority of this album is rooted in the sounds of blistering complex hardcore, Radiation 4 isn't scared to throw in progressive sounding passages and completely unexpected sharp right turns. If skewed music appeals to you, Radiation 4 may have a soundtrack.

Granted, this band throws so much into the blender that some people may not care to adjust to the constantly shifting dynamics. On the other side of that same coin, those with short attention spans will enjoy songs that fundamentally alter themselves every few seconds. Vocalist Chris Negrete has obviously enjoyed listening to Mike Patton over the years as he nearly has the insane shrieking and hollering down. Much of this short album is spent wondering if Mr. Negrete is truly losing his marbles in the studio. Strangely, on the occasional moments where he uses clean singing, he sounds eerily similar to Mayhem's Maniac when he chants his overdramatic clean passages. The guitars and percussion are all over the map, with the capable bass playing of Jose Escobar providing smart puncuation to all of the statements of the other musicians. The constantly shifting nature of the music means the band is not afraid to whip out a death metal blast beat and tuck it back in by the time the listener hollers an obligatory "hail Satan!"

Radiation 4 is definitely creative and talented. Wonderland (which bears no relation to Dramarama's similarly titled 80s album) shows off a band with approximately a jillion ideas all at work. One gets the impression that after this early dexterious workout, Radiation 4 will allow themselves to expand and trim the number of ideas per song on future releases. Wonderland may prove to be sensory overload for a commercially sedated listening public, but for the more adventurous listeners who feel Mr. Bungle might as well have been the Ramones in terms of simplicity, Radiation 4 comes with high recommendations. (And the Mr. Bungle comment is a little joke, you sensitive bastards!)

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2003

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