It’s rare that something this fascinating and exciting appears relatively out of nowhere. Mucus, the long-running Belgian grindcore band, have seen fit to reissue their debut album, Discharge of the Bleeding Mucus For A Cocktail Of Pus, on cassette tape, distributed by the members themselves. This is a fitting release for the band’s 20th anniversary, celebrating a group who’ve made a name for themselves in obscurity, constantly pushing the limits of extreme music. Their ability to continue performing and creating music despite the limitations of their art is astounding; this is the same perseverance and drive epitomized by bands like Warsore, Deche-Charge, Wadge, Gorgonized Dorks, Captain Three Leg, and so many other groups that have stuck around and continued to make awesome music over the years.
Returning to these early recordings after two decades of growth as a band shows just how capable these musicians are of experimentation and improvisation. The recording quality on Discharge achieves such a lo-fi aesthetic, many songs sound like black metal, with shrieked vocals and tremolo guitars more prevalent than d-beat drumming and hardcore breakdowns. There is also a fair amount of early noisecore in their sound; Seven Minutes of Nausea‘s split with Anal Cunt could have been an influence on the recording sessions with produced this album (the band would later confirm this debt on their song “Thank You Anal Cunt”). Mucus’s 1999 album Total Castration For Bleeding Ejaculation In My Anus had the same fuzzy, hi-gain guitars, but the blastbeats and song structures showed a move towards a powerviolence inspired sound.
These influences were further refined the following year when Mucus released Couds Toi La Chatte Ou Je Te Viole!, a musical extension of their previous work which saw grind coming to the forefront with pummeling speed, alternating harsh and shrieked vocals, and well-placed drum breaks. Listening to “Fellation Du Martin, Repos Du,” I am reminded of Ahumado Granudo‘s jazzier tunes. Peculiarly, the band’s subsequent split with Frankensperm delved back into the lo-fi noisecore they had experimented with in the past, but by the time their split with Agathocles came out, Mucus had returned to grindcore, more musically technical than ever. That recording sounds intentionally muddy, and is stylistically consistent with the band’s follow-up, Ta Mère Est Vieille, Prie Pour Elle, widely regarded as their magnum opus.
The raw, unpolished production of Discharge of the Bleeding Mucus for a Cocktail of Pus exemplifies the late-nineties goregrind revival epitomized by Anal Blast‘s seminal Vaginal Vempire. Constant clipping and feedback add to an atmosphere of pain and discomfort. Perhaps by accident, Mucus stumbled upon a formula for demanding but rewarding music that challenges the listener by eluding easy classification. The samples from Wizard of Oz are another strange piece of the picture, adding to the surreal experience of listening to this album all the way through. Fans of the underground grind/noise/gore community would do well to give this a listen.