Mordred:The Noise Years

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Reviewed: December, 2021
Released: 2021, Dissonance
Rating:  4 /5
Reviewer:  JP

Timing is everything.  Thrash/Funk Metallers Mordred have reunited after a multi-year absence.  In mid 2021 they released their 4th full-length THE DARK PARADE, which was moderately well-received by those who remembered the band.  Funk Metal, which was kind of a big deal in the early 90’s, as a rule has not aged well and 17 years between albums is a long time to keep a fan-base waiting.

Another cliché we could deploy is ‘strike while the iron is hot’ and that is exactly what the fine folks at Dissonance/Cherry Red have done.  Hot on the heels of the new Mordred studio album the label has issued a very cool career-retrospective called MORDRED:THE NOISE YEARS.  The title is a bit of an odd choice because when it comes to the three-album career of Modred (pre-breakup) there were only the Noise years.  They weren’t on another label.   It’s not like, for example, RATT:THE ATLANTIC YEARS  because Ratt had other albums on labels other than Atlantic Records.  To sub-title it ‘The Noise Years’ seems redundant. Everyone knows they were only ever signed to Noise Records, well, at least they should!    Keep in mind this is not a part of the official Noise Records reissue campaign from a few years back.  Getting back on track, there is renewed interest in the band so timing is great for this 3-CD set.

It is presented is a nice looking black double digipak with sort of a cool embossed cover with their jester/mannequin mascot dude watermarked in. There is an 18-page full colour booklet with a long essay, with interview components, written by Dave Averly. It is reverent and appropriate.  There are also lots of pictures of memorabilia and so forth. It’s a good-looking set.

What we get is all three studio albums and a mish-mash of EP’s and singles.   For whatever reason Noise at the time released several EP’s (or maxi-singles, depending on your perspective) and there was various track crossover between various versions manufactured for different territories.  It makes sense, funk Metal was hot at the time and Noise was pushing the band to be the next big thing, think maybe along the lines of Faith No More.  The band was on track but never quite made it. They are largely remembered by some for a novelty/gimmick, but still impressive, cover of Rick James hit, ‘Super Freak’.  What it quite interesting however is that back in ‘89 Mordred (along with Xentrix in very early 1990) was one of the very first bands to do a pop and/disco cover.  They were pioneers and now there are literally hundreds of metal bands doing pop/disco covers, so credit where credit is due!

Most, but not all of the material from those five EP’s has been added here for our enjoyment.  From a purely technical perspective there are no unreleased tracks on this set.  However, if did not get those various EP’s than there are a generous 10 bonus tracks, cover tunes and live versions.  There is lots of cool material for fans to enjoy.

As a side note and by pure coincidence, as of time of writing, about six weeks ago, I happened to find a copy of the band’s first EP, ESSE QUAM VIDERI (from 1991) in a used record store and so I have all these bonus tracks anyway.  There are a few tracks that did not make the set but those were mostly ‘radio edits’ and largely non-essential versions of songs that are already on the main albums.

I had a lot of fun re-visiting these records. It had been many, many years since I heard my cassette versions. Of the mini-glut of bands that jumped on that funk/groove/scratch bandwagon they were one of the better bands. It is an acquitted taste and while far from being essential Mordred do deserve the recognition.   As with many of these type of ‘public service’ announcements I’m not going into heavy detail, reviewing each album, especially albums that are now 30+ years old.  This is a nostalgia production for sure and while being an acquired taste, this set is a very decent tribute to the band.


Track Listing:

DISC ONE:

Fool’s Game

1 State Of Mind
2 Spectacle Of Fear
3 Every Day’s A Holiday
4 Spellbound
5 Sever And Splice
6 The Artist
7 Shatter
8 Reckless Abandon
9 Super Freak
10 Numb

DISC TWO:

In This Life

1 In This Life
2 The Strain
3 High Potency
4 Window
5 Esse Quam Videri
6 A Beginning
7 Falling Away
8 Killing Tme
9 Downtown
10 Progress
11 Larger Than Life

Bonus Tracks
12 Lion’s Den
13 Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed
14 Intro/Killing Time (live)
15 Every Day’s A Holiday (live)

DISC THREE:

The Next Room

1 Lo-Cal, Hi-Fiber
2 Skid
3 Crash
4 Splinter Down
5 Shut
6 Pauper’s Wine
7 Acrophobia
8 Murray The Mover
9 In A Turn
10 The Trellis
11 The Next Room Over
12 Rubber Crutch

Bonus Tracks taken from the ‘Vision’ EP

13 In Time
14 West County Hospital
15 The Vagrant
16 Reach
17 Close Minded
18 Vision


www.cherryred.co.uk/product/mordred-the-noise-years-3cd-deluxe-digipak/  

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