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For a band that was so cutting-edge and forward-thinking in the '90s, Mushroomhead did some things the old-fashioned way. Like so many bands that emerged in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, Mushroomhead realized that creating a strong buzz locally (local being Cleveland, OH) was the way to build a career. And even though Mushroomhead's music was very alternative, the Midwesterners were a throwback to the '70s and '80s in that they had a very theatrical live show and gave their audiences a healthy dose of fantasy -- they weren't just another post-grunge outfit that equated being frumpy and unglamorous with "keepin' it real." But Mushroomhead wasn't just selling image; those who acquired the Cleveland residents' second album, Superbuick, realized that they had plenty of great material. Alternative metal is the foundation, and Mushroomhead brings a wide variety of influences to that foundation -- rap, industrial, goth rock, and techno are all influences. One minute, Mushroomhead is being influenced by Rage Against the Machine or Public Enemy; the next minute, one might hear the influence of Metallica, Bauhaus, Ministry, or Nine Inch Nails. And through it all, Mushroomhead always projects a firm identity of its own -- one that involves being forceful yet darkly melodic. Mushroomhead obviously appreciates the intensity of Rage, PE, or Ministry, but it is also obvious that the band is just as appreciative of Bauhaus' dark goth rock melodies. Unfortunately, Superbuick had limited distribution; back in 1996, Mushroomhead didn't have a record deal and was still putting out CDs on its own Schroomco label. Superbuick didn't get into as many stores as it should have, but that doesn't make this sophomore album any less impressive.

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