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?