It seems that Boston-based upstarts Mongrel have generated something of a name for themselves having shared the stage with such notable names as Korn, The Misfits, The Exploited, American Head Charge, Wednesday 13 and Sepultura. Quite a roll-call of names there and after one listen to “Reclamation” it’s quite easy to see/hear why this band have gotten so much acclaim as the material on the album is cut for maximum enjoyment in the live setting, such is the energy and melodic hooks that the band permeate nearly every song with.
However, this isn’t a live album and “Reclamation”, like many other punk n’ roll/metal albums cut from a similar cloth, suffers a little from an overbearing production that makes it sound a little stilted; not a lot, and not enough to detract from the quality of the songs, but tellingly it’s the latter half of the album that comes off better than the first. This is where the band take their collective foot off the throttle and let a little bit of restraint enter the picture, bringing their metal influences to the surface and dropping some of the punk rock brattiness.
The weighty grind of ‘Zombies of War’ could be the result of what happen when you mix Metallica with The Misfits during their slower moments – a dream pairing in many people’s eyes – whilst the slippery groove of ‘The More I Bleed’ is as dirty and greasy as Motörhead without resorting to more obvious rock n’ roll trademarks. And it’s these moments that stand head-and-shoulders above the Wednesday 13-style snottiness of ‘No Gods, No Masters’ and it’s repetitive ‘Fuck You!’ shouts, although the party-rock of ‘Fuck Off and Die’ is surprisingly less intrusive and consequently not as annoying.
Overall, “Reclamation” is a damn fine album and if you get the chance to see the band touring it then you’ll likely have one hell of a good time. Although it takes a couple of songs to get going, once it hits its stride it’s a highly enjoyable energy rush that captures the essence of what good time rock n’ roll is about, albeit one that touches on cliché in a couple of places.