Three is the magic number, especially when it comes to trios in music. Anti jokes aside, this particular trident of musicians call themselves Bungler but in no way or shape come off as clumsy or incompetent, as the dictionary definiation of their name would suggest. These Buffalo natives may be few in number but play a form of hardcore that is incandescent enough to merit mathcore murmurings and direct enough to smash holes through any other alternative act around. The Nature of Being New is the album, Bungler are the band, this review is about to commence.
Metallic hardcore (or metalcore, but what does that even mean anymore, c’mon) is a hot, happening sound again and a full force display from Bungler here mixes up the two worlds, warts and all. Not too dissimilar to fellow Buffalo hooligans Every Time I Die and their early attempts, the vehement aggression from the young guns is pretty obtuse. There’s no let up in the red mist. With not as much technicality present as in the early ETID jams, less than Poison The Well‘s crashing brand of metalcore even, the snarling drive of the band is potent enough to impress.
With the kind of mathy riffs that Stray From The Path could never build on, The Nature of Being New is chock full of stop-start, thunder chug riffs. Beat-down 101—thunder-chug riffs are sick; “Ex Wheels” is a barrel of riff fish being shot, absolutely menacing. There’s some fucking around with electronics and soundbites but the whip-cracking shifts between math grooves and dotted rhythm stabs make for the best memories. It’s pleasing to the ear because it is familiar without ever feeling stale. Math metal in any one of it’s forms, when done correctly, is just good for the soul. There is quite a lot of it, the constantly jagged nature of the tracks wearing down slightly in the middle before a late flourish of creation.
This stuff has Nails-like violence in spades on “Drowning In Oil”, spread with a superbly utilised HM-2 rip. “Dead Breath” has a shallow, lethal stab at pseudo post-hardcore cleans. A third reference could even bring up “In God We Trustfund” for the momentary nostalgia blast of something not too far from American Head Charge and 2001’s The War Of Art (great reference). Dub filler tracks, some more pieces of cleans and soundbite too, but Bungler must know the best stuff is when they really let rip. This record is teeming with destructive passages on a touchpaper edge, ready to fucking explode. Not enough pieces of the paper are getting lit yet though. That’s fine, this is fresh territory and it’s as raw and honest as the band intended.
Bungler make a strong case for relative newcomer of the year with The Nature of Being New. Which category of newcomer they’d win is up for debate, with whammy blasted beatdowns and grooves taking centre stage; leaving the supporting cast of post hardcore and early 2000’s metalcore with only enough room to breathe. There is pure energy trapped in the confines of this material and it’s so nearly utilised to the fullest of its potential. With the kind of trimming and tinkering that another release would allow, this band will raze stages into the ground, all over. All will leave this particular experience with a sore neck and spit from the singer’s mouth across their scowling mug. Mmm.