This album makes me want to listen to Mudvayne again. I had very very low expectations from this album. What, you liked “The New Game”? Low expectations aside, I am happy with what this album puts forth. Mudvayne has apparently begun to make the shift back to the style of music that made them stand out from the other hundreds of metal acts who thought they had something new.
The album opens with a one minute intro that does not need to be there. Perhaps this is because I wanted to move on to the music, or because I needed to know right away if my low expectations were going to be blown out of the water. I secretly hoped they would not be as I hate being wrong. I was closer to wrong than right. The tracks in “Mudvayne” bring back the punishing beats of the very trebly guitar and the machine gun cracks on the snare with thunderous bass drums that Mudvayne has deftly made their own signature sound. Oh, you cannot forget for a second the off the wall bass playing by Ryan, something which I wish there was more of in this album. Maybe that is the bass player in me talking, but crap, he is one of the most insane bass players I have ever heard. He needs to step back to the front of the stage and let the band know he is there.
Whereas the the previous album had a more straight, less adrenaline pumping rock sound, this is a comeback. The opening track “Beautiful and Strange” gives off some of the old Mudvayne punch and the newer Mudvayne glitz. I may be a purist in saying that LD 50 was the top of their career, but this album takes the best parts of each previous album and melds them together. Some songs, such as “1000 Mile Journey” have remnants of stadium rock vocals shine through, but strangely, instead of adding cheese to the sound, it adds a layer of complexity. A larger existence of ballad type songs and verses, do seem to interrupt the flow of the album, but are well crafted songs. These slow moments are not as lame as a a Seether acoustic album, or any hard-ass looking band crying over their guitars and pretending to be tough, but rather an existence of real pain, joined this time with sadness instead of anger. The emotions are for real.
Mudvayne manages to use the sounds I love from them and the sounds I hate from them, and make me fall back in no-homo love with them. While the actual beats per minute tempo may not be as high as their first two recordings, Mudvayne still makes this album punch. The dichotomy of such a straightforward band setup and complexity of layered sounds is an absolute one-off, and not in a bad way but in a recovering their niche way. Think of the timeline of this band like a stroke: they went a completely different direction, but are now in therapy, and doing well.
The problem with this album is thus: my expectations are now set high for their next release. That does not mean that this album, with all its sonic variety, will be forgotten the way “The New Game” was. In fact, I am happy to say that I no longer shake my head when I hear the name Mudvayne. They seem to have brought themselves back around to their roots, but allowed their roots to be influenced just enough to keep it new.
1. Beautiful and Strange
2. 1000 Mile Journey
3. Scream With Me
5. Heard it all Before
6. Can’t Wait
7. Beyond the Pale
8. All Talk
9. Out to Pasture
10. Burn the Bridge
11. Dead Inside