I Am Better Than You – Sterilised Fungus

When I first heard Infected Mushroom’s album Classical Mushroom, I was an instant fan. From the washboard-soothed arpeggios of Bust A Move to the otherworldly funk of The Spaniard, these boys just seemed to know what the dancefloor wanted. The Gathering, their ’99 album, is equally fantastic. More recently Infected seem to have gone the way of Johnny Rotten when he moved from The Sex Pistols to Public Image Ltd. The difference is that Duvdev and Erez seem to have no sense of irony whatsoever.

It is only at six minutes into Franks, the ninth track off their latest release The Legend Of The Black Shawarma, that we hear Infected’s trademark dancefloor style. Up until this point I was finding it very difficult to write this review. Words like lacklustre, mediocre, unoriginal and, strangely, old-hat, were running through my mind. Here we have some banging trance, twisted melodies and fuctup beats.

Herbert the Pervert gives us an insight into the heads of these famed Israeli freaks. Apparently heavy metal guitars are all you need to provide atmosphere these days. Is it perhaps living in L.A that has brought these once-great musicians down to the level of Cali producers? All that cocaine can’t be good for them – but damn, when you’re high that percussive guitar sounds fantastic. This synth-melody-reinforced rhythm was the bee’s knees in 2006, now it just sounds like more of the same.

Perhaps the last two albums from this group have been soundboards – a bit of a ‘look what we can do’ for Hollywood. Since the release of Vicious Delicious two years ago, Infected Mushroom’s tracks have been popping up in films and video games.

The title track is a hodge podge of earlier musical tactics, leaving the usual infected taste in the mouth. Infected used to be so exciting. Every track had something new, something wild – even if it was just one sound in the track, it was something you’d never heard before. Every track on this album is familiar to me. I haven’t heard it before, but I may as well have, for all the variety The Legend Of The Black Shawarma shows.

The name Infected Mushroom was taken from an early Israeli punk band. Is it possible that Duvdev, not happy with stealing their name, is now trying to steal their audience too? It seems so, because there isn’t any goddamned trance on this album. It’s either bad 80s hair metal riffs over the top of rehashed melodies being played by Duvdev’s stupid voice through a few different filters, or it’s the same tired Infected track structure with some adequate synths hung in the appropriate places. What’s going on?! I won’t even discuss Perry Farrell and Jonathan Davis’ contributions. I think the tracks speak for themselves – like a horse with peanut butter in its mouth. Let us just say that they are terrible.

These guys used to be musical geniuses, now they play interesting pop music. I suppose worse things have happened. If you want some revolutionary psytrance, try Sienis. If you want some Israeli pop music with high-end production, Legend of the Black Shawarma is for you.

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