Review Summary: On "The End Of All Things To Come," Mudvayne use new tools, sharpen ol' reliables, and get to work with stunning sense of confidence.
On their debut “L.D. 50,” Mudvayne's moderate usage of shifting rhythms, changing time signatures, and excessive heaviness defined their originality and trademark sound, but there is no doubt they owed credit to conventional alternative and heavy metal artists like Pantera and Metallica for the inspiration to write more than 50% of what they thrived on through the record.
With their sophomore album, “The End of All Things To Come,” the band couldn't be more unconventional, save for a few moments, (singles “Not Falling,” and “World So Cold.”) The credit is still due for brewing up the band's influence in the first place, but on TEOATTC Mudvayne abandons any attempt at a true “Hook-hunt,” giving the album few moments to look forward to strongly over others. That being said, it's Mudvayne in their finest hour by far.
“L.D. 50,” prevailed in establishing the outline of Mudvayne's audio arsenal, but on TEOATTC, the group twists the gears even further, by raising the incorporation of ever-rotating rhythmic patterns with bitter and bludgeoning guitar, while vocalist Chad Gray continues to thin out the line connecting heavy maniacal behavior and easy-going crooning. The end result, leaves little room for a shot at some sort of catchy groove to cling to. Instead, the album as a whole, comes off as one of the better albums to date, (in the genre) that strives for developing a listener-taste to hearing songs for their entirety, and not for any particular part; though some parts will naturally be more appealing to different listeners. Even the semi-mainstream cross-over single, “World So Cold,” though criticized for its drastically softer nature compared to the vast majority of Mudvayne's (at the time) existing discography, begins in agony and flows into a chorus that doesn't exactly bring out the tools to give its scene any beauty, but it illuminates the tattered landscape of their global distaste.
As noted earlier, the boys turn up the burner for their choice of fuel on this record, and the elements tend to lean toward a progressive edge on tracks like, “Trapped in the Wake of a Dream,” and “Shadow of a Man,” where the format is essentially verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus, but the endlessly grinding pattern-shifts almost make it difficult to keep track of where you're at. While that's a definite sharpening-job for the edges of their signature sound, elsewhere, the record works magic by perfecting the more-valued mechanics of their debut. Opener, “Silenced,” kicks and punches just as hard as “Dig,” on its chorus, then, after a sudden stop, re-starts its motor in a lower-gear for its verse, to allow Chad Gray some refreshing and honest singing time. “The Patient Mental,” is perhaps the tightest weave-job of sadistic metallic chaos and an actually smooth melody, that the band has produced thus far. The components with which one would identify Mudvayne's sound instantly are all at an impeccable balance on this song; Gray splits the blood-curdeling shrieks and that gentle lullaby voice of his up 50-50.
They might not embrace their benchmark-heaviness throughout the record as much as they did on its predecessor, but they prove they've most certainly “still got it,” on “Solve Et Coagula,” and the title track, “The End of All Things To Come.” The latter is a senseless yet epic pummeling that spits rants of chemical warfare and terrorism. “Solve Et Coagula” also rates up to snuff with an absolutely dreadful but beautifully basic main riff. The closer ,”A Key To Nothing,” cruises along jagged edges of polar opinions amongst the group's regular following. The song's music dices up relentless repetition and a structure that is borderline brainwashing; a combination that promotes a headache from time to time. On the other hand, the overzealous nihilism that floods the backdrop of Gray's lyrics triumphantly instills an inescapable devotion of attention to the apparently major proportion of his message's integrity. Taking his rant seriously is almost an innate ability.
If one were to stare threw a scope that assessed all fairness to musicians and bands everywhere, they would know that most artists, whether they're thriving along the plains of indie, underground, or mainstream, possess the talent to brew up truly unique, original, and most importantly, distinguishable material that sets them aside from the masses. On “The End of All Things To Come,” Mudvayne for whatever reason choose to take a crash-course on developing their maturity, as well as their surprisingly wide range of complexity that they all of a sudden seem to have a knack for. It isn't just an effortless task to set TEOATTC aside from just about every other nu-metal act surfacing prior, at, and after its chart time, but it's also easily the most one-of-a-kind record Mudvayne has recorded, within the rest of their major-label discography. There's too much experimentation in the right crannies of the genre to dismiss this outing as anything less than superb.