Review Summary: The New Game shows that mundane-Mudvayne’s idea of ‘new’, is a second-rate one at best.
Managing to come up with fresh material for The New Game
wasn’t going to be an arduous journey, according to Mudvayne’s vocalist Chad Grey during an interview. Talking self-assuredly about the difference between the sounds of his supergroup incarnation Hellyeah
and the sounds to be found during The New Game, Grey states “Mudvayne is like wearing an old pair of shoes - you just feel comfortable in them”. However considering that their last venture literally found them cowering amongst visual stereotypes, and newborn imagery, it comes off as some surprise that they have managed to find themselves experimenting with material that’s detached from the apparent past insecurities, even if still a little stuck in the muddy waters of vagueness.
By recruiting producer Dave Fortman (recent Slipknot
) and adding him to the battery, the group discover some elements that are well overdue, but also many that don’t form any lasting impressions. Fortman and many of the group’s members boasted frequently before the release about the allowance for each instrument to develop in the mix, giving it a feeling close to that of ‘old-school rock’ – if by that they mean the atonal King Crimson
guitar solo during the title track, there may just be signs of exaggeration bleeding at the seams. Where is this so-called rock sound that is spoken so eloquently of hiding? No where to be honest – this is basically Lost and Found Pt. II
; tacky nu-metal, tinged with deprived lyrical content and unflattering soft-to-hard song structures; discordant down-tuned guitars, seemingly complex yet overly unflattering percussion, and teeth gritting vocalisation. While it could be taken as jumping on the modern-metal bandwagon, the occasional whining guitar solo (“Do What You Do”/ “Same Ol?”), acoustic driven melodies (“Scarlett Letters”/ “Never Enough”) and, softer crooning (see all) from Grey, help give the release a sense of personality. Revitalising also is the more gratifying representation between rhythm section members, Ryan Martinie and Matt McDonough, though this rarely seems to form into anything appealing, at least in comparison to that of moments during L.D. 50
’s obsequious rhythmical complexities.
While it may yield some standouts such as the deceivingly good introductory track “Fish Out of Water”
, mostly the durations for enjoyment will be short-lived. Frankly Mudvayne has missed the train on this one – once again. The previously driven cohesion between all the members seems to still be lurking between the songs rather than during them; i.e. during the silence when you’re thinking back to the heady days. The New Game, while confident and defined, shows a lot of devolution and needs to be recoded into something more representative of their character, their talents, and finally their original sound. It will most likely become a recording that will divide many listeners, appeal highly to die hard fans, and finally dishearten the lovers of L.D. 50.