In 1999 Greg Werckman and Mike Patton created a record label simply to release the latter's record with new project Fantômas. Ipecac Records would take off as not only a vehicle for the prolific Patton's many projects but as a lightning rod for “alternative metal”. This burgeoning subgenre had punk rock energy, metal riffery and grandeur, flooded by grunge's muddy banks. By creating a haven away from the grabbing hands and diluting opinions of the major label execs, Ipecac not only made itself an industry success story but bolstered an entire legion of sarcastic cynics to make the kind of art they want to make.

One such band thriving in the wake of Ipecac's positive influence is Bay Area-based hard rock/alternative metal quartet Modern Monsters. Their latest self-titled EP showcases the manic fervour, dynamic range, creative melodicism, and pointed lyrics that define the group. The Wells-Lennon guitar combo brings the chunky unhinged riffs with just enough high-flying shredding to keep the metalheads entertained. The Tuohy-Bass rhythm section runs the gamut from nimble to pummelling with a good heaping dose of punky humour in their playing. This is matched by vocalist Josh Weaver whose sardonic squeals and confounded cackles take on the viewpoint of the observer driven to madness by the devolving society he sees unfolding in front of him. A Joker-esque vision of the insane mechanics of the world.

The EP is a tight three tracks with peaks and valleys but never a let-up of the intensity. Madman laughter and a meaty riff introduce the opener 'Furrow'. Menacing, murky chords create swampy verses which allow Weaver to stew on the grim symptoms of unfettered consumption. His cries build to an operatic rage. Very Patton.

'Lament' drives with gritty chromatics throwing down to a heavy stompin' half-time. A megaphone ramble bridge gives way to a wah solo that would make Mr. Hammett proud. 'Stay Free' has the most punk rock beat of the bunch. Weaver persists with snide obstinance, calling for resistance to oppression at all times. His voice goes from Grohl scream to Dio bellow and back.

Modern Monsters is made for the loyal fanbase that Patton created with Ipecac. This band belongs on that label.