How is it the heartland of America, a place that both coasts are constantly told is where real people live who possess root values, turns out groups like Slipknot (Ames, IA) and Mudvayne (Peoria, IL)? Maybe values have change in ag land.
Back in '96, Mudvayne came together with each member adopting the unconventional pseudonyms sPaG (M. McDonough - drums), Gurrg (G. Tribbett - guitar), and Kud (C. Gray - vocals). The group's original bassist was replaced after two years by Ryknow (Ryan Martinie).
Mudvayne's self-released debut "Kill I Oughta" got them signed to Epic. Their major label arrival came with "L.D. 50" (the title is actually a scientific measurement of a lethal dose of a toxic substance) in '00 which led to a tour with Slipknot. But that wasn't all. The album went gold and earned Mudvayne a couple of MTV awards the following year. A few months later "Kill I Oughta" reappeared as "The Beginning Of All Things To End." '02 release "The End Of All Things To Come" was recorded at Minneapolis' Pachyderm Studios with Tool producer David Bottrill. The album brought altered personas, this time as space aliens: Chud (Kud,) Guug (Gurrg,) R-uD (Ryknow,) and Spug (sPaG). OK, got that? A tour with Metallica and Linkin Park was a prelude to '05 release "Lost & Found."
'05 turned out to be a pretty good year for Mudvayne. They played the main stage during Ozzfest. The "Need For Speed: Underground 2" soundtrack contained "Determined" and the World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE Vengeance used "Happy?" as the pay-per-view show's theme. Also, "Forgot To Remember" was heard in the film Saw II while the group was featured in an episode of The Sopranos (AJ stays in New York to go to Mudvayne concert with his friends).
Mudvayne released the compilation album "By The People, For The People" in late '07. The set contained demos and live tracks with a spoken word introduction explaining a song's meaning, relevance or origin.
Having taken a shot at the Police's "King Of Pain" in '99 then letting it sit on the shelf, Mudvayne re-recorded the song for the album.
Gray and Tribbet's side project, Hellyeah, went out on tour in the summer of '07. When that was completed, Mudvayne began work on their fourth studio album. Led by the single, "Do What You Do," "The New Game" was unfurled in November, '08.
Perfect for last-minute Christmas shopping, Mudvayne issued their self-titled '09 album just days before the holiday. The CD came in the regular jewel box and deluxe packaging. The latter used black light ink technology for the cover art and poster. "What anyone else thinks should have no bearing on what any individual thinks about this work," said Martinie.
2000 L.D. 50
2002 The End Of All Things To Come
2005 Lost And Found
2008 The New Game
There are people in the world having fun - good times, but Mudvayne is not among them. "Woe is me' verses explode in rage. The stutter guitar and serpentine bass lines support Gray's leap from whine to wail. This approach has impact though it is somewhat diluted over time.
Mudvayne thrashes with the best of them but they didn't start out that way. Early efforts, "L.D. 50" and "The Beginning Of All Things To End" feature sci-fi themes, spoken word passages and electronic sounds among the grind. From "L.D. 50" the jerky but tough rhythms and breathless vocals of "Internal Primates Forever" resonates. On "The Beginning" it's the hardcore "Seed" and "I.D.I.O.T" that are memorable.
"The End" finds Mudvayne bearing down on "Silence," "Not Falling," "(Per) A Version Of A Truth" and the title track. The sound is dense and unrelenting and the group is better for it.
On "Lost & Found" they roar through "Determined," "Pushing Through" and "Happy." "Fall To Sleep" is a hot dose of Nu Metal while "IMN" is a perfect machine gun Rocker.
The prominence of acoustic guitar on a handful of "The New Game's" songs is meant as a change of pace but this is still very recognizably, Mudvayne.
Set opener, "Fish Out Of Water" is a big drama song. The single "Do What You Do," "A Cinderella Story" and "Scarlet Letters" display Mudvayne's mastery of the soft verse-loud chorus motif. The title track, ""Dull Boy" and "We The People" crank up the power and the fury.
"Mudvayne" has Speed Metal ("Beautiful And Strange"), Drama Rock ("Heard It All Before") and Ballads ("Dead Inside"). But throw these guys into the pit and they excel. Check the majestic yet accessible "All Talk." "1,000 Mile Journey" is a blast and "Closer," even though it's a mid-tempo track, still burns.