Mushroomhead could arguably be one of metal’s most underappreciated bands. Formed in the 1990’s, the Ohio-based nine-piece group has always been determined to stand out. While they may be on par with their peers musically, it is their artistic capabilities that distinguish the group. Not so much by the masks or uniforms, as that bandwagon has been crowded for a while. Visually, Mushroomhead has a running start. Set to release their new DVD Volume III in a few weeks, the band is ready to remind fans and critics alike why they are a rare breed.
From start to finish, Volume III is sharp and stunning. Pulling songs from 2014’s The Righteous and the Butterfly, it is a collection of cinema quality music videos and never-before-seen footage of the band as they travel, sightsee and prepare for performances. Sort of like a video album, with live action liner notes. It begins with an aerial view of the band walking across a tundra-like landscape. The brilliant white snow chillingly contrasts with the band’s black attire. This becomes a video for the song “Our Apologies."
Perhaps most notable is the brilliant new video for “We Are the Truth”. In big nod to the Evil Dead series, it presents nightmarish characters and a tale of deadly possession. “The entire Mushroomhead camp is heavily into horror films,” explains drummer and founding member Steve “Skinny” Felton. “I think the end result is very creepy and a lot of fun.” It also features Jackie LaPonza of Unsaid Fate, who provided guest vocals on this track and collaborated on “One More Day”. She even toured with the band, performing live on those songs. The existing videos for “Qwerty” and “Out Of My Head” also make an appearance on the DVD.
The assault on the senses weaves between clips of live performances from the band’s trek across Europe, Soundwave and the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Onstage cameras, as well as wide angle audience shots, help capture the energy of the band’s live set. It takes a lighthearted turn with a collection of backstage antics. Watch members of the band shoot targets, pull pranks and even play with a roulette-style wheel. There’s even a special appearance by the late Dave Brockie aka Odeus Urungus of GWAR. Jackie LaPonza and Steve Felton, among others, contributed personal footage. The cell phone style videos furthermore add a “home movie” element while still preserving the integrity of the film quality.
What makes Volume III the most unique is that it was done by the band themselves. Mushroomhead is a wellspring of creativity and having full artistic control is a key factor in what you see. From concepts to set and costume design, editing, and filming, they are the masters of their art. Vol. III is the band’s third DVD overall and marks the newest material since the release of The Righteous and the Butterfly. Granted it’s not new music, but it has enough to satiate hungry fans who have been waiting for something.