"Gather around, ugly children, and uncle Mushroomhead will tell you a story."
But these are no ordinary stories. The tales told on Cleveland industrial/metal outfit Mushroomhead's latest album, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, are the stuff of nightmares. The band has stated the album title came from an '80s comic book of the same name, but there's nothing funny about these dark, doomy ditties, either. But if the wee ones are interested in staying up all night thinking about stabbings to the tune of an ominous, roar and some chaotic turntable scratching, here are some examples of the kinds of yarns spun by Mushroomhead on their latest record.
"Come On": Mushroomhead's first single off Beautiful Stories describes what happens when you piss off a psycho. "I pretend to sleep at night / Just to hear your voice calling / I've been down this path before," vocalist Waylon Reavis sings, before announcing "I've got my hammer, duct tape, Visqueen . . . Don't ever doubt my art / In pieced together body parts." The underlying idea is that this guy's killed before, and is eager to do it again. The moral of the story? Don't creep up on a murder-happy dude who's pretending to sleep, kids.
"Slaughterhouse Road": Once upon a time, there was a war over religion (art imitates life, indeed), and all the "believers" went down this one path called Slaughterhouse Road. In the end, everybody gets sucked into a "bottomless hole," the "nation" ends up behind bars, and decades are "laid to waste." Yes, Virginia, Jesus loves the little children. Now go to sleep and dream of mushroom clouds.
"Holes in the Void": This story's about making art — specifically, making art out of murder victims painted "in twisted, glorious shades of sorrow and pain / Of pain and sorrow." And when little Johnny's done drawing fluffy white clouds and happy little trees with his crayon, he can do like the song says and use a "canvas slashed to the brain." The song doesn't reveal what the titular holes in the void are, but according to Mushroomhead, when we get there, we must "enjoy with no choice." Just like when somebody slips a tab of LSD into little Bobby's Capri Sun.
"Harvest the Garden": This seems to be an ode to cannibalism, as the "garden" consists of people (read: meat) that the narrator wants to dump on the pyres. According to the lyrics, this is both an act of "vengeance" and an end to "hypocrisy," but ultimately turns out to be "such a tragedy." The song/story's real tragedy is actually the chorus: "The way you want, the kill, the hunt / So fuck the cunt and everything that comes along with it." Maybe that's misogynistic, but knowing Mushroomhead, it could also be a nod to serial killer Ed Gein, who infamously kept a shoebox with nine vulvas in it. Either way, it's probably not something little Susie needs to think about before the sandman comes.