By the People, For the People

very poor


by Jom STAFF
January 8th, 2008 | 20 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While extremely cool that everything is completely fan-generated and highlights the band's commitment to "giving back" to its fans, this record of rarities will only appeal to the people who participated in the making of this album.

Primarily a collection of live cuts, demos, and acoustic renditions of studio recordings - but also sporting two original cuts in "Dull Boy" and a cover of The Police's "King of Pain" - By the People, For the People is Mudvayne's attempt to appease fans clamoring for a record of new material. The premise of this album was certainly admirable; for the ill-informed, the Peoria, Illinois-based quartet sought to make everything about the album, from the artwork ("Mudwurk") and photographs of Mudvayne tattoos inside the cover sleeves to the tracklist, completely fan-generated. The band held contests on it mySpace, where their fans could pick what songs (spanning The Beginning of All Things to End to Lost and Found, including their DVD All Access to All Things) they wanted to appear on the record.

From there, the band accumulated those votes, arranged this album of rarities, and picked what version(s) of the songs (the aforementioned live cut, demo, or acoustic rendition were their options) would appear on By the People, For the People. Each track (and the album itself) is preceded by a spoken-word introduction by vocalist Chad Gray, who shares what format the band selected, where and when it was recorded, and other short trivia tidbits. All told, there are thirty-three tracks on the album: the opener is an introduction to the album's aim, followed by sixteen cuts with sixteen matching introductions from Gray.

While this is potentially all very cool for a listener, By the People, For the People is relatively inaccessible to first-time or casual Mudvayne listeners. As is often the case, only the most die-hard of fans purchase B-sides from artists, but one of the album's faults is repeated appearances of original songs found on previous records. For example, the tracks "On the Move" and "Goodbye" were previously available as bonus tracks in the first pressings of 2002's The End of All Things to Come. If the listener is a die-hard Mudvayne fan, it's a fair assumption that he/she would have purchased one of the first issues of The End of All Things to Come. While it's understandable to include these cuts for fans who missed out the first go-'round, or to have a central album that houses Mudvayne's demos from the late 1990s to the present, it is nevertheless strange to have the previous two studio tracks re-emerge on an album. This argument carries into the live recordings of "Dig", "-1", and "World So Cold" found on this album as well. While all three tracks are incredibly popular amongst the Mudvayne fanbase, the recordings are taken directly from their 2003 Summer Sanitarium tour. Why is this an issue? You can hear the exact same recordings on their DVD All Access to All Things, released in 2003.

Another problematic characteristic By the People, For the People has is the spoken-word introductions to each album. While Gray is notorious for his positive fan interactions and for speaking pragmatically and sensibly, he appears to introduce each track unscripted, as evidenced by his stammering and stumbling over himself in many of his mumbling introductions. A minor bone to pick to be sure, considering the introductions are typically less than a half-minute, but scripted introductions in a crystal-clear, articulate voice would have demonstrated greater care. All told, Gray's introductions represent another way the band gives back to its fans, and this personal touch is surely a welcome gesture due to the information he shares in them, but again, anyone outside of the die-hard Mudvayne fanbase likely will not get much out of these introductions.

By the People, For the People's demos are as expected; they are grittier and rougher cuts in contrast to the polished cuts found on their previous albums. The demos also are different in many respects to the studio versions - the changes range from slight (see: most of the Lost and Found demos, particularly "Happy?" and "Fall Into Sleep") to pretty significant ("Death Blooms", "Not Falling", and "Silenced" are three prime examples). "Death Blooms"'s demo is this album's highlight, and the differences between the L.D. 50 version and the demo are stark in contrast. In the introduction, Gray asserts that it was a "song that really stuck out to people on the initial demo" during its recording in Spring 1999, and it clearly shows. Bassist Ryan Martinie, just as he does on the original recording, absolutely dominates throughout the track. Stylistically, the track is altered in that the chorus immediately follows the first verse, whereas in the original recording, both verses precede the chorus. Further, the time signature and tempo changes that follow in the track occurs after an instrumental transition in the demo; in the official recording, this passage follows after a second chorus. These nuances in this song, as well as others (note the glaring difference in the "Not Falling" demo's chorus compared to the official recording) are intriguing to hear because they illustrate how the band adjusts and tinkers with songs before recording the studio.

The two legitimately new tracks - "Dull Boy" and "King of Pain" - should appease fans. The former, which appears to be derived from, or at least influenced by, the classic novel/film The Shining, is characteristic Mudvayne. To clarify, Martinie and drummer Matt McDonough truly slay on the track - they probably had a lot of time to be creative in their individual writing processes waiting for Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett to finish up with the honky-tonk disaster that is HellYeah - while Tribbett chugga-chuggas along with the same bland riffs and progressions throughout the entire song. While "King of Pain" is not the most popular Synchronicity track, it is nevertheless a stellar song and one that Mudvayne covers extremely well. Gray is no Sting, but his raspy vocals add an appreciable dimension to the track. In addition, Tribbett shines on this track - yes, this includes the solos - and it begs the question if he will incorporate more into the band's newest album... if it ever gets released, anyway. "King of Pain" begins on a mellifluous note, with Gray's "There's a little black spot on the sun today; it's the same old thing as yesterday . . . I have stood here before inside the pouring rain with the world turning circles running 'round my brain / I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign, but it's my destiny to be the king of pain" sounding hauntingly beautiful over the effect-laden guitar. As expected, the chorus is where you best hear Mudvayne's identity in the track; bold and explosive, Gray's harsher vocals kick in for the duration of the track while Martinie's basslines swiftly run underneath. Lastly, the acoustic version of Lost and Found's "Forget to Remember" is another surprising album highlight. The acoustic guitar parts sound excellent complemented with Gray's stripped-down vocals and an assertive rhythm section.

To conclude, By the People, For the People is an innovative effort from Mudvayne because everything about the record is fan-generated, save for what versions of the selected tracks are heard. The band has prided itself on giving back to its fans, and they do not fail in doing so with this record. However, outside of the devout Mudvayne fanbase, it's difficult to argue that any other listener would appreciate the spoken-word intros, the gravelly sound that characterizes the demos, or discovering the different qualities between the demos and the official recordings. If you are new to Mudvayne, do not pick up this album first - stick to the slick, well-produced official recordings.

While the two new cuts give little indication as to whether or not Mudvayne is going to turn into HellYeah 2.0 or if they're going to stick by their traditional nu/alternative/progressive metal hybrid sound on their forthcoming album, it'd be impossible to figure out based on one original cut and one cover to begin with. So, in the meantime, the Mudvayne faithful should give this a listen, and while it's doubtful any other listener would get anything out of this record, the recommended listening should still be considered. In all, this release may accomplish its goal of tying fans over until the band's tentatively-set-for-mid-2008 release, but in the grand scheme of things, By the People, For the People is an admirable effort that highlights Mudvayne's incessant desire to give back to their fans.

Jom recommends:

Death Blooms (demo)
Forget to Remember (acoustic)
King of Pain
On the Move (listen to the rhythm section)
Dull Boy

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user ratings (101)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 8th 2008


This is why you're one of my favourite reviewers. I love your style.

January 8th 2008


Agreed^^^^. Jom, your reviews are so well written that I have nothing more intelligent to add. This album has good intentions, but I feel its ironic that Mudvayne claims they did this for their fans even though it still feels like a cash grab. Also in an interview I read with Mudvayne in Revolver Mag, Chad says Dull Boy is no indication of the direction his band is going in on their next album.

January 8th 2008


^That is true. btw, FORTRESS?!
good review, anyhow.

January 8th 2008


Fortress leaked?

Electric City
January 9th 2008


I have an erection pointing at you, Jom.

January 9th 2008


Good review man.

January 9th 2008


good review, poorly disguised pop.

January 9th 2008


All this really does is add to the anticipation of the new album.lets just hope its good enough to satisfy the long-ass wait. i actually really enjoy hearing rough demos so this works out perfectlyThis Message Edited On 01.09.08

January 9th 2008


Anyway, another way this album isn't a "cash grab"

This album has weak demos, crap recorded live songs, trashed songs that didn't make the final cut, and a haphazardly arranged order of songs that feel like 'cash grab' to me. This Message Edited On 01.09.08

January 9th 2008


doesn't nu metal always have that impact though?

January 9th 2008


I'm a Mudvayne fan and I feel Chad ripped his fans off with this album. Real fans can wait an extra few months for an album, not be dished out shit to listen to in the meantime. This is just lame when a band I enjoy pulls stunts like this. I'm surprised you don't feel this way too, considering how much you adore these guys.

January 10th 2008


I will certainly be checking out their new album. I would have probably picked this up back in the day too if Mudvayne was still at the top of my listening agenda. This Message Edited On 01.09.08

January 10th 2008


I was thinking of picking this up- Mudvayne are pretty good.
Nice work on the review.

Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2008


Cheers for the comments, but especially the ones that are about me. I worry that I lose pulse with writing or that people don't care, so it's always a goal to get people to read and be informed. If they agree, cool; if not, cool as well.

January 13th 2008


Good review. I met a girl who said she was into metal so I was like OMG and I asked her what bands and she said Mudvayne so I left.

January 21st 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

great cd

stupid introductions

but still a great cd nonetheless

best songs: -1, all that you are, dull boy, death blooms

worst: king of pain (wtf?) and on the move (great instruments, but awful song)

January 25th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

pretty good cd. the introductions are very useless. props for making a fan cd though, thats a badass concept

August 31st 2009


Purely for the fanboys

June 1st 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I feel you've been a bit unfair in this review. When you're a fan of a band you like to hear their music in as many shapes and forms as possible, hence why we love live albums. Even though some of their demo songs didn't sound as sweet to the ear as the studio versions it was okay because they're not meant to sound perfect, as you said this is for die hard fans and to them, any material is perfect. Also I disagree with you about the short intros before each song, the fact that they were improvised gives a much more personal touch to the listener, as if the listener is actually having a conversation with the singer instead of a piece of paper. Overall I felt this was a succesful album.

March 22nd 2014


I got this album as a present for either my 12th Christmas or 13th birthday. I had only heard The New Game, "Happy?," and maybe TEOATTC at that point, so it was premature at the time and I ended up never listening to it, but I could probably enjoy this now that I've gotten much more exposure to Mudvayne's body of work. Too bad I can't find it anywhere...

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