Madman Mundt is as sundry as it is severe. Guitarist Scott Stearns played with Integrity precursor Die Hard. Bassist John Benedict drummed with improv-noise artists Weeds From a Perfect Garden. Scott Benedict briefly drummed with Pere Ubu. They know their way around punk and metal, and the band's self-titled debut is a distillation of tried-and-true hard-hard-hard-rock techniques.
Stearns grinds out staccato riffs that are more Prong than the new Prong album. Performance artist and frontman Mark D'Angelo (also a Weeds alumnus) shrieks hard to convince us that he's disturbed. In album-opener "Broke Against Sam," he froths at the mouth like System of a Down's Serj Tankian, taking on the role of a disintegrating junkie covered in sores and drowning in filth, as the band charges through erratic time changes. "Cancelled Comic Book Heroes" is a Bronx-style slam-dance workout. The prog-punk hits its stride in "Madman Mundt," three minutes of dizzying, off-key helter-skelter. The manic rant "Beyond" recalls Suicidal Tendencies' hardcore classic "Institutionalized." Most of it's been done before, but it's all done well.