Album Review: Munson, Verbatim EP

[from Metal Heavy, December 8, 2007]

There are literally thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of bands like Munson rocking out in the basements and garages of Middle America: crude young men and boys armed with crude tools looking to make a big, crude sound.

Beer Cooler, Ypsilanti, MIAs their recently re-released (in extremely limited numbers) Verbatim EP makes clear, Munson sought to take thrash, hardcore and Sabbath-esque swamp metal and fuse them all into some kind of primordial stew of noise. They may not have pulled it off, but the between-song banter of “:38 Special (That Ruled)” and the closing medley (“Are You On? / Johnny Done Gone / Don’t Stop, Just Go”) show a glimpse of a nascent band cramming everything they could into those precious eight minutes until they, like so many before and countless more since, called it a day. But unlike all those other bands, real life never got the chance to ruin everything by telling them it was time to give up. In the space of the four songs of Verbatim, even if only momentarily, Munson are the undisputed kings of rock, metal and their little corner of the Wolverine State.

That it took so long for these songs to emerge would normally be a mystery, but it’s hard not to imagine a cassette tape somewhere, its sticker and case long faded, bouncing around the backseat of some guy’s car and ending up deep in storage until one day, when he least expected it, a man found it, cleaned it up in hopes of turning that bit of nostalgic coal into a shiny diamond and in the end realizing that what he had wasn’t any kind of diamond at all but instead, for better or for worse, nothing more than the sound of late-90s Michigan committed to tape forever.