I was pretty excited when I heard that David Bottrill was chosen to produce the new Mudvayne album. This gave me some hope for what Mudvayne were going to try to achieve, considering the resume and list of artists that Bottrill has worked with in the past (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Tool, etc.). I thought that L.D. 50 was a promising major label debut, but I could sense that they had more ambition and musical/technical prowess than to be unfairly lumped into a group of Slipknot, Korn, Nu-metal wannabes by a lot of the press.Well, on “The End of All Things To Come”, Bottrill’s work with the group has paid off in letting them more fully realize their ambition and the potential of their musical talent. Their second major label album is a slicker, more refined, and mature version of the music that they have been making for several years. The production values have grown while the excess fat has been cut out – they have created a lean, mean record. As lead singer, now christened “Chud”, explains on the limited edition DVD that accompanies the disc – “The album is at the same time much harder than the hardest track on LD 50 and much mellower than the mellowest track on LD 50, with everything in between” – from a dynamics standpoint, he hits the nail on the head. Like their closest metal kin, Tool, their new songs are razor sharp, rhythmically precise, immensely melodic, with the rhythm section never veering out of control. This is progressive, rhymically challenging metal; although not as much so as say, Dream Theater or Fates Warning. Another thing of note is that the bass isn’t as prominent as it was on LD 50. On the surface, this could be perceived as a bad thing, but with the bass taking a step back, it actually allows the other instruments to intertwine better and create a more cohesive band sound (and btw, the drumming on this record is amazing). The vocals have improved greatly over the debut, with less reliance on the “hoarse death shout” and more on “clean” vocal melody. The lyrics are above average for the genre – they border on ridiculous and cliche in some instances, but for the most part they are well written and are more thoughtful than your standard issue metal lyrics. Finally, like most challenging albums, it takes more than a couple of spins to completely sink in, but it is quite rewarding after you take the time to absorb what it has to offer.My final overall opinion is that this is album is highly recommended to progressive metal fans. Mudvayne have proved with “The End of All Things To Come” that there are still some great “thinking man” metal records being made today. If you have enjoyed the last two Tool albums or even a fan of more “extreme” prog metal such as Opeth, this album will make a great addition to your record collection.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Ever since I first listed to L.D.50, I have been saying that Mudvayne has potential to be the next Tool. They are fantastic musicians and write amazing lyrics. When I first put in “EoATtC”, it didn’t really grab my attention much. I wanted a Dig or Prod to jump out at me, and the single “Not Falling” sounded a bit too radio friendly for my taste. Usually when I buy a new disc and it’s not reaching me, I put it aside for a few months and then try to go back to it. Not in this case. I ended up listening to “End of all…” six times last night. Each time the music grew on me more and more, and I heard what I was supposed to be hearing: Pure Genius! This is a phenomenal disc! I may even grow to like it more than L.D.50! “Not Falling” definately grew on me. If liked their last album, definately pick up this CD!!!(If you get the version with the DVD, it has an interview, shows the band in the studio, has a brief interview, and two bonus songs. It may be worth it for hard core fans, but it isn’t necessary.)
MuDvAyNe’s sophomore album is as good, if not better than their first release, “L.D. 50″. Starting from the first track, “Silenced”, Chüd, Rü-D, Spüg, and Güüg deliver high-energy offerings. Here’s a track-by-track breakdown:1. “Silenced” This is one of the best songs on the CD, and delivers a clear message on censorship that, in concert, sees hundreds of fans waving their middle fingers in the air, too.2. “Trapped in the Wake of a Dream” Slower than “Silenced”, this song attacks with fierce guitar riffs and dark, melodic lyrics.3. “Not Falling” My favorite song on this album, “Not Falling” is also the album’s first single. Debuting MuDvAyNe’s new ‘alien’ look, this song also debuts their new sound, with an anthem that keeps rocking after it’s over.4. “(Per)Version of a Truth” This track, while slower than the previous ones, further show’s just how varied Chüd’s vocals can be. One minute he’s singing a high, melodic chorus, and the next he’s screaming. Fortunately, it fits together perfectly, and the chorus gets stuck in your head like peanut butter to your mouth.5. “Mercy Severity” Another hard-hitting introduction leads into one of the album’s better songs. “I can take you if you leave it all behind…”6. “World So Cold” This song, in my opinion, is the best song MuDvAyNe has ever composed. The introduction literally gives me chills down my spine every time I hear it, and the faster rapping is another showcase of just how talented this band is.7. “The Patient Mental” Although it’s hard to follow “World So Cold” on any album, “The Patient Mental” manages to do just that in its own fashion.8. “Skrying” Reminiscent of “L.D. 50″, this track has a hook like a boxer, and won’t let go until it’s infected your mind, causing you to sing along helplessly. Be careful with it.9. “Solve et Coagula” Probably the album’s weak link, “Solve et Coagula” isn’t a bad song per se, but rather it’s not great when compared to the album’s other offerings.10. “Shadow of a Man” Along with “World So Cold”, this song shines as one of the album’s best. “Do you reflect me or do I reflect you? Are you inside of another world? I wanna break through…”11. “12:97:24:09″ Silence.12. “The End of All Things to Come” As a title track should do, “The End of All Things to Come” blends the styles found on the album into an amagalm of fast, addictive music.13. “A Key To Nothing” A good way to sum up the album, “A Key to Nothing” is the icing on the cake for one of the best albums I’ve listened to in a long time.
First off, I have to mention that my tastes in music are pretty varied, but my favorite music leans toward the ambitious, grand, whimsical, ethereal, refined/elegant, complex, original, intelligent, powerful, multi-faceted and in many cases, cerebral. Thus, I find one (to a maximum degree) or more of these qualities exemplified in progressive/psychedelic rock (mainly of the 60s and 70s), and classical music, which are my top preferences in music. As far as metal is concerned, I was never a die-hard fan, and still am not to this day, though my strongest interest in it was a decade ago, and has been nearly nonexistent since, as I found it to become tasteless, predictable and unoriginal.
However, on the discovery of some recent bands who seem to be pushing the envelope of metal (e.g. Meshuggah), I’m a bit more hopeful on the progress of “the hard stuff.” Meshuggah plays “math-metal,” a style which incorporates rhythmically complex features into metal. When I read that Mudvayne were also “mathematical” in their rhythms, I had to check these guys out — and I am SO glad that I did. These guys have a LARGE amount of versatility and talent – so much so, that I’m not sure my feelings about the whole thing can be accurately expressed in words. The structures are indeed complex and mathematical, but the band does not shy away from melody and catchy heavy rock. It’s a nice balance between accessibility and complexity (not unlike Permanent Waves-era Rush.) The lyrics are intelligent, which are at times serious, thought-provoking, and at other times humorous and/or sarcastic. There’s even some metaphysical topics – like the lyrics to each song matching up with the psychological profile for each of the 12 astrological signs of the zodiac (if you’re familiar with astrology, you’ll EASILY be able to spot the correlations between each song and respective, highlighted sign.)
These guys are under the “nu-metal” label, but that’s just a weak cop out from going into deeper analysis of the band’s attributes, which may be difficult to do. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much how the majority of “professional” critics are towards artists’ contributions — looking for the easiest comparative link, and failing to give artists’ works fair, in-depth reviews (for lack of intelligence and laziness), and it’s been that way for years and years. What’s more sad is that many listeners follow these critical techniques, and rarely form solid opinions of their own.
Having said all of that, I’m not sure who to compare this band to, as they don’t outright sound like anyone to me. The closest thing I can compare them to is Tool, but these guys seem a bit more loose, and groove-oriented in approach, but no less intelligent and intricate. And as far as the “nu-metal” label, it certainly does have that modern alternative metal sound, which unfortunately seems to overshadow the deeper (and more important) elements of their music, as well as scaring off potential fans. However, on the whole, I find it grossly unfair and inaccurate, as these guys possess more complexity, depth, versatility and originality than most artists found in popular music today. I call them something like progressive alternative metal (if it’s all that important.)
Look deeper – there is MUCH more to Mudvayne than meets the surface. Beyond the campy image, the musicians are incredibly talented – particularly Chud, who is a hyper-versatile vocalist — almost schizophrenically so. One minute he’s doing these goofy growls, and the next, he showcases vocal characteristics of the most sincere balladeer. The rhythm section is tight, and drummer Spug plays some pretty complex rhythms on the kit, but not without displaying tasty grooves here and there. “Silenced” is an excellent way to open up the album, as a fast-paced, blistering rocker, while “Trapped In The Wake of A Dream” showcases some pretty odd rhythms (like 11/8 and 17/8, I think.) “Not Falling” is just excellent, as it balances the heavier moments, with mysteriously melodic vocals and soundscapes – not to mention a few curveballs in rhythm. “A World So Cold” is possibly my favorite track on here. Chud gets to show off his commanding, heartfelt, brooding vocals (which actually recall Greg Lake of ELP — for me anyway), backed by the melancholy, atmospheric guitar arpeggios, which give way to harder-edged moments. There’s also a section (I think the bridge) where Chud does this mesmerizing roadrunner-speed vocal technique, intermingled with growls, which are unbelievable — a testament to his (and the band’s) talent, while “The Patient Mental” seems to exhibit what is known as “revolving polymeter” (Meshuggah makes extensive use of this technique.)
Elsewhere, “Skrying” begins with what sounds like a 11/4 (4+4+3) rhythm, before turning into one of the strangest, most menacing choruses I’ve ever heard. The title track is probably the fastest on here. The lyrics are quite biting and sinister, but thought-provoking, which take on a nihilistic view of world politics. Even more powerful, they crack me up hysterically (at least in the way Chud delivers his vocal), and the topic is based on something that probably shouldn’t be laughed at — or should it? And “A Key To Nothing” is a melodic, heavy ballad to close out the album, in which Chud showcases his passionate vocal delivery.
Intelligence, melody, complexity, versatility, accessibility — it’s a 10. Mudvayne seem to possess all of the ingredients (and then some) which blend together nicely to create quality music. For those who are purist and label-conscious – try to open your mind, and look past the “nu-metal” aspects of this music. Only then will you be able to spot the genius that’s embedded within Mudvayne’s music.
I’ve always thought Mudvayne were a somewhat misunderstood and unfairly maligned band. Mainstreamers won’t listen to them because they don’t sound anything like Pearl Jam or the Dave Matthews band, and metalheads reject them for not sounding enough like Slayer or Morbid Angel (look them up). As somewhat of a musical extremist myself, I do take a certain amount of umbrage to people acting like Mudvayne are the heaviest or craziest band out there, because they’re far from it. But of course, not being extreme doesn’t necessarily mean something isn’t good, just as being extreme doesn’t make something good (it certainly helps, though!). I think “The End of All Things to Come,” much like its predecessor “LD 50,” has a lot to offer for any rock or metal fan who can keep an open mind.There seems to be a lot of discussion as to how exactly to classify Mudvayne, so I might as well contribute my take. I wouldn’t call this stuff metal, at least not in the same sense of the term as, say, Slayer or Iron Maiden. At the same time, I don’t see how you could call it nu-metal, since it’s nowhere near as simplistic as stuff like Korn or Disturbed. With its complex arrangements and ever-shifting time signatures, I’d say this is more like heavy math rock than anything else. I listen to a lot of progressive music (Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, etc.) in addition to extreme stuff, and while Mudvayne’s work certainly isn’t the heaviest or most progressive music I’ve ever heard, it does combine the two elements just enough to make for an interesting listen.Despite what some may say, I find Mudvayne to be a pretty talented band, certainly moreso than most of the Seattle-lite and homiecore acts polluting the airwaves right now. Vocalist Chud isn’t among my favorites, but he does bring some nice variety, often shifting effortlessly from smooth singing to cookie-monster growling. Guug is an excellent guitarist, who goes way beyond the detuned chugga-chugga riffing commonly associated with nu-metal. The real stars of this band, though, are the rhythm section of drummer Spud and bassist Ru-D. They create some extremely interesting rhythms that really elevate Mudvayne above the heap. Ru-D’s winding, muscular basslines and Spud’s complex and rhythmic drum beats would make “The End of All Things to Come” a worthwhile listen even if the rest of the band were inept. Most importantly, “The End of All Things to Come” is full of diverse, intriguing songs. Mudvayne definitely rage a lot, but they can be just as effective when they turn the speed and volume down. The album opener “Silenced” is a great example of just what Mudvayne can do. It’s a great hard-driving metallic track with some fierce growling from Kud, and the complexity of the guitar work puts virtually every nu-metal band that’s ever existed to shame. The single “Not Falling” is way better than most of what’s on the radio right now. It’s pretty straightforward compared to some of their other stuff, but it’s chock full of emotion, melody, and skillful playing. The chorus to this song, with its thumping bassline and precise drumming, gets my head banging every time. “Mercy Severity,” another choice cut, starts out slow, but then steadily builds in intensity before exploding into a barrage of frenetic riffing and harsh shouting. These three songs are probably my favorites, but there really isn’t anything too bad here. All throughout, Mudvayne prove themselves to be experts at balancing melody, aggression, and intricacy. Nu-metal? I think not.So anyway, I really like this band, and I think just about anyone who gives this album a shot could enjoy it. It seems a lot of metal fans want to label Mudvayne as just another nu-metal band because it makes them easier to bash, but I try really hard to be more fairminded than that. Obviously not everyone is going to like this album, but you should try to listen to it for what it is, not what someone else says it is. Mudvayne are a pretty tough band to categorize, but is that really a bad thing?