Post-Hardcore Supergroup Mutoid Man Get a Little Help from Marty Friedman

(Image credit: Jammi York)

You may not have heard of Mutoid Man, but it seems like just about everyone else has. Not only does this Brooklyn-based outfit’s sensational new album, War Moans, feature special guest guitar icon Marty Friedman, but they’ve already earned the ultimate stamp of rock and roll legitimacy—their own signature guitars.

So, who are these mutants, anyway?

Part punishing metalcore, part mathrock and a little manic hardcore punk thrown in for good measure, the band—featuring Cave In guitarist Stephen Brodsky, Converge drummer Benjamin Koller and bassist Nick Cageao—has been making waves in the metal underground since 2012, headlining clubs and playing direct support for bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Baroness.

As Brodsky explains, “Mutoid Man is a metal band with a punk attitude.”

It’s a formula that has caught the attention of both metal geeks and metal gods like Friedman. “We played a place in St. Louis, and we saw that Marty was playing a couple nights after us,” says Cageao. “Both Steve and I were huge fans of his playing on Megadeth’s Rust in Peace, so we asked the production manager to give him one of our CDs. We knew full well it might just get chucked in the trash, but a couple weeks later we got an email from his label telling us he thought we were really refreshing.”

During the recording of War Moans, Brodsky and Caeago reached out to Friedman again and asked the legendary shredder to play a solo on the title track. Without hesitation he agreed, and a couple days later the deed was done.

“I mean how wild is that?” says Brodsky. “But the truth is, what did we have to lose?”

The band’s chutzpah also served them well in procuring their distinctively cool guitars. A few years ago, Cageao stumbled upon a vintage ZZB-Custom bass made by the Japanese-based company Aria. Shortly after, Brodsky found a classic Aria XXMS Flying V for himself. Both concurred that the Eighties-era instruments sounded great, looked awesome and were “built for speed.”

“I thought they had gone out of business, but I found out they were reviving the brand so I asked if they would endorse us and they agreed,” says the bassist, who adds that the company will be manufacturing champagne-colored Cageao and Brodsky signature models in the upcoming year.

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Brad Tolinski

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Brad was the editor of Guitar World from 1990 to 2015. Since his departure he has authored Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page and Play it Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound & Revolution of the Electric Guitar, which was the inspiration for the Play It Loud exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2019.