The Number Twelve Looks Like You
As spastic math metal goes, “Mongrel” by New Jersey’s The Number Twelve Looks Like You quickly convulses its way to the fore. If you don’t like the style to begin with, this album will not change your mind, and it might send you scrambling for clean lines and predictable turns.
Number Twelve (named after a “Twilight Zone” episode) may not be the first to sound like this, but as style points and technicality go, they may be the best. There are blasts of nimble frenzy throughout, with jazzy, even disco-affected sojourns thrown in.
It’s like the sextet tried to stir in every genre they could think of in a hard-to-decipher mix, with a comprehensible blueprint hidden somewhere inside. The quaking machination of “Alright, I Admit It ... It Was a Whore House” is combined with death metal vocals. There’s a Spanish inflection to the measured madness of “Paper Weight Pigs.” The sequences of lacerating thrash and muscle-tensing breakdowns on “Sleeping with the Fishes, See?” are buried beneath mounds of convulsive Julliard-like training bent on insurrection.
The chiming, fragmented beginning to “Jay Walking Backwards” is about the only part of “Mongrel” that casual listeners can follow. The rest of the CD is capable of making your eyes roll back in your head. The fact Number Twelve can replicate this music in concert makes it all the more unfair to us mortals.