As you may already know if you are a follower of the blog, I did a write-up on Mushmouth for the blog several months ago. I was unhappy with the post for several reasons; mainly due to a lack of completion and a serious case of writer's block. Thanks to the efforts of Henrik at the Bring Honour Or Walk Away blog combined with my recent USB turntable acquisition, I can now post up a full Mushmouth discography. Here we go again...
For whatever reason, Mushmouth seemed to remain relatively unknown outside of the Pennsylvania Hardcore scene during the tenure of the band. While the lack of label support could definitely be argued, there have been bands represented by much smaller labels who have managed to attain attention for themselves while writing music that doesn't even touch what Mushmouth was putting out. Mushmouth's lack of notoriety certainly was not due to a lack of talent, sincerity or any other reasons that usually keeps a band unknown. Whatever it was, Mushmouth/Out To Win are arguably one of the most underated hardcore bands of all time.
Out To Win was formed under the name Mushmouth during the Summer of 1995 in Reading, PA. After gaining a loyal following in the regional area, Mushmouth released a demo entitled "Look Ahead" and began playing shows all over the Northeast. Guitarist Chris Mahmood was also in charge of vocals on this debut demo which was apparently recorded as a three piece. Three of the five tracks were featured on the infamous East Coast Assault Volume 2 compilation put out by Too Damn Hype. You can check out a blog on this compilation posted by Edwin on the Stuck In The Past blog HERE. This compilation also featured early tracks from All Out War, Hatebreed, Indecision, Comin Correct and Stigmata amongst many others.
Things were continuing to look up for Mushmouth with the recording of their second demo, "Thick As Thieves". They once again returned to Gamut Recording Studios in Latrobe, PA which was responsible for the recording of the infamous Passover/No Retreat split as well as the equally legendary Pensive/Seasons In The Field split. The second recording effort saw bassist Dave moving to vocal duties as well as the addition of a second guitarist named Mike. While I am quite a fan of both of these earliest demos, it wouldn't be until their next release, a 1997 Demo, that Mushmouth would truly come into their own with both a new line-up and sound.
It was with the release of this 1997 Demo that Mushmouth added what would become the signature vocals of one Chris Henzel. The rage heard within these vocals are apparent even through the low quality cassette rips in which you'll be hearing this through. Three of the six tracks (Abrasion, Uncertain & Steppin' Out) would go on to be re-recorded for their monumental debut full length entitled Out To Win. This recording session revealed a sense of bitterness that fails to develop on some of the most produced albums. In a similar fashion to their earliest demos, the band lent two of their 1997 demo tracks, "False Belief" & "Uncertain", to the infamous Call For Unity compilation put out by Rick Ta Life in 1997. Another two tracks (Abrasion & My World) would make their way onto a split 7" with Livin' Proof.
The debut album, Out To Win (which would later become the band's moniker), was preceded by a split 7" release with Skarhead featuring a preview track entitled Fearless. When the album was finally released, it contained 11 tracks of pure hostility which far surpassed the efforts of all three demos combined. Produced by AJ Novello of Leeway, the album had a feeling of both relentless pessimism and boundless rage. Not to be outdone, the band successfully followed up their debut full length with a fitting sophomore album entitled Lift The Curse. As with the all previous efforts, the album's lyrics tend to focus on hatred and disgust towards most people encountered in daily life. Songs of betrayal and revenge are in abundance. More ofter than not, said subject matter becomes quite mundane and over done in my eyes; not in Mushmouth's case. Vocalist Chris Henzel seethes a sort of genuine disgust that rings true, even throughout over two albums' worth of venting on the subject.
Somewhere in between the release of Lift The Curse in 2000 and the release of their follow up EP in 2002, the band decided to change their name to Out To Win due to the surprisingly high number of other bands using the name Mushmouth. Coinciding with the name change, the band released the Persist And Destroy EP. While still maintaining their sound, the band started to lean a bit more metallic with this release; at times being reminiscent of Arkangel's "Dead Man Walking" album. Being recorded at Trax East Studios in NJ and then mixed at Atomic Studios in NYC on top of that, the album was by far the group's most fierce sounding effort. While there were no guest vocals by James Ismean on this album (a first), Sal from Sworn Enemy contributed vocals which were more than sufficient. Ironically, the band also chose to re-record the track "Out To Win" from their "Out To Win" album released back when the band was still considered to be Mushmouth. I've included the Lift The Curse and Persist And Destroy albums together in the same upload as they are both equally necessary listening.
The band also released a final album before breaking up in 2007 entitled Beg For Life. I'm not uploading it due to the fact that its still readily available through Thorp Records. While I personally don't feel as though it is as strong of an album as any of the ones I have uploaded, it definitely contains two of their best and most original songs in the form of "Ghost Army" and the title track, "Beg For Life". Yes, James Ismean does guest vocals on this album ... and this time its about bringing the wrath of the lord down on your ass.
As previously stated, the band has regretfully parted ways with their final show taking place at the Earth Crisis reunion show at Sonar in Baltimore, MD in early 2007. The band is known, however, for their surprise sets of two or three songs whenever they manage to get to the same place at the same time. One can only hope the band decides to pull their efforts together once
DOWNLOAD - Thick As Thieves, Look Ahead & 1997 Demos
DOWNLOAD - Out To Win
DOWNLOAD - Lift The Curse
DOWNLOAD - Persist & Destroy