This is the best album to come out of the Nu-Metal scene. I'm sure many will agree with that statement. This album has everything you could want from a nu-metal album. Despite the fact that the guitarist seems to only want to hammer out power chords, this album still manages to be great. How" Well, three ways. One: Chad Grey's vocals are far more advanced then your average nu-metal screamer. While he does have some very, very generic songs (Under My Skin) the majority are intelligent. Pharmaecopia argues that people should not prolong their lives with medicine, they should face their inevitable death. Everything and Nothing is all about abortion. Nothing to Gein is about Ed Gein, and why he did what he did (serial killing). Very advanced topics, better than the "I hate you!" "I'm about to cut myself!" Lyrics of your average nu-metal singer. Two: Ryan Martinie is one of the best bassists in the nu-metal scene, probably only trailing Justin Chancellor of Tool (and maybe not even him). Three: Matt Mcdonough delivers perfect drumlines for this CD. This CD is packed full of great songs, and really only a very few stand out as sub par. Lots of five, six, and seven minute songs on this album. Now for the song by song review. I am not going to rate the four tracks that are just buzzing with science being discussed in the background.
Dig: 8/10. This album's lead single, it is probably the most popular song for people new to the CD. It used to be mine, but the other songs are actually much better. A straightforward rocker, with heavy guitar and bass. The bass carries this song, Ryan delivers a great bassline here. However, there are very generic lyrics that are about some anonymous person that is trying to make Chad someone he's not. Also some lyrics about suicide. Not a very complex song. There are some very difficult vocal effects in the beginning of this song from Chad, nice work. A fun listen, but not the album's best.
Internal Primates Forever: 9/10. Much less of a straightforward rocker than Dig, this song shifts around a lot and doesn't rely on heaviness. Very cool opening riff from Greg here, one of the few really distinctive guitar melodies on this album. Mudvayne also uses the heavy chorus/quiet verse theory here a little, but this song is not quiet at all. A little too much chorus action here, in one point the chorus repeats three times. While it's good, it isn't that good. Some actual singing on this song, something that you will hear a lot of throughout the album. This song is also a lot more original lyrically, I think it is about how us humans think we are all high up and evolved, but we still can't resist our most primal urges. A very good outro here, with Chad screaming "Internal Primates Forever!" over a repeating riff. Overall, this song is a very good one. If you're looking for a consistently hard yet intelligent rock song, this one is it.
-1: 7/10. While not a bad song at all, it doesn't stand up to the others on this album. This song features an quiet guitar during the opening and the verses. But don't worry, it is still heavy because Mudvayne lets Ryan slam away on the chorus. The quiet verse/heavy chorus is used to the extreme here. The verses have quiet singing and that quiet guitar, the chorus is furiously loud, with screaming. This song doesn't really stand out much at all. For me, the highlight is that nice little bass fill at about 2:40, probably the best part of the song. Also, a pretty good outro. Unfortunately, the chorus is terrible, and the verses are only average. While the choruses have very loud screaming, the bass backing the vocals is very simple for Ryan. Average song, I guess.
Death Blooms: 10/10. This song was the second single off of this album. Starts off with a very cool bass riff. The verses are quiet again here, but the choruses are very good. Hard rock, but still very melodic. A lot of singing on this song, much unlike the first single Dig. A interesting riff begins at about 1:40, and lasts for about half a minute. That is probably the best part of the song. I love how the rest of Mudvayne lets Ryan really take center stage on this song, he shows what he can do. Also, this is one of the few songs that can be classified as "catchy", as it is one of the few with a distinctive melody. Great song.
Cradle: 10/10. Widely regarded as one of the best songs on here, this song opens with a some quiet guitar playing from Greg. It quickly erupts into heaviness though, with Chad screaming unintelligibly with Ryan hammering furiously, then quiets down just as fast. Just the beginning of an epic roller coaster ride, this tactic is repeated often throughout the song. The bass emerges from the sludge at about 1:25, and lets loose with a sweet riff. Also, the chorus on here is probably one of the album's best. This song is the first one on here with a discernible bridge, and again Greg takes a backseat to Ryan's driving bass. That quiet guitar that was played during the intro is repeated throughout the song in the verses, and is the first thing I think of when this song comes to mind. I'm pretty sure this song is about how Chad's father deserted his family when he was young, and how that interfered with his life. One last epic chorus closes out the song, this time with some backing vocals that adds a nice touch. One of the signature songs on this album, Mudvayne used this as a blueprint for their other 6-minute long epics that fill their albums. This song grows on you, so don't discard it the first time you hear it.
Nothing To Gein: 10/10. My choice for best song of the album, this song has the best intro I've ever heard from any song... ever. That haunting guitar, and that one pleading line "I am so alone," raises goose bumps every time I hear it. During the chorus, Greg only hits a few occasional chords and lets Ryan let loose with a furious bassline, that makes this chorus an epic one. Ryan's bass changes again for the verse, with a strange bouncy beat. This formula is repeated throughout the song. The vocals on here are so hopeless with lines such as "love is meaningless... I'm so soiled." For some reason, this song paints a picture of hopelessness like none other I've heard. The drumming on this song is also very good, with lots of cymbal banging during the bridge. Near the end, the chorus is repeated twice, then three times, with the same instrumentals as the verse. Very long, quiet outro with Chad whispering "soiled" repeatedly. Gradually, the song fades away. Best bass on the CD in my opinion, and if not the best at least the most noticeable. Incredible song.
Everything and Nothing: 6/10. Opens with a percussion and bass intro. Unfortunately, Ryan doesn't play too big of a part in this song. While you can still hear him for sure, he isn't as prominent as in Death Blooms and Nothing To Gein. The lyrics are also a bit screwed up, featuring the chorus of "I am everything, I am nothing." The verses are also weird, with the lyrics seeming to be coming from a distance. The second verse blends right into the bridge, with is just as unmentionable. Neat little riff from Ryan at about 2:52. Overall, this song is not so much bad as it is indistinguishable. Only 3:15 long, and it seems like Mudvayne was just trying to fill space. One of the few fillers that isn't just buzzing noise.
Severed: 10/10. Great, great song. This song is probably second on the album to Nothing To Gein. Not to heavy, although it does certainly have some heavy parts. Again, Greg steps back and lets Ryan loose with his bass. I really like the intro to this song, with first the whiny guitar then the thundering bass riff coming in later. The chorus on this song is excellent. There are also great slow parts in the song, which are better than the heavy choruses. Some great drum playing by Matt during the 2:20 area. More than that, the bass and the drumming really intertwine well in this song, making it sound really cool. Chad shows some great vocal range during this song, loud screaming and soft singing within the space of seconds. Also some backing vocals by Greg (I think). The song quiets down for about a minute at about 4:18, with occasional bursts by Ryan and Matt compliment the quiet guitar playing from Greg. The song then builds up into one last chorus before fading out for good. This song is another epic like Cradle, except significantly better. One of my personal favorites, and the album is packed full of songs like this.
Prod: 9/10. This song is a lot more gentle and quiet than the other songs on here. While it is by no means a quiet song, there is almost no screaming, and the guitar isn't too loud. Opens right away with a good riff from Ryan, and Chad gently singing over this. It is not a continuous riff, and Matt provides some nice drumming to fill the gaps. This song has a start-stop chorus, which is a nice change of pace from the other choruses on this album. The song changes pace a bit in the middle, with the riff changing and Chad screaming a bit. At about 3:34, the song gets a lot louder, Chad begins to scream the vocals, and the riff changes again. A nice little drum line at about 5:11, and another good bass riff right after that. Overall, this is a very good song. Not one of the very best on the CD, as it is not very complex. Overall, still a good song.
Pharmaecopia: 8/10. This song opens with a whiny guitar, and furious riffs interspersed by Ryan. Maybe the heaviest song on the CD, there is a ton of screaming and very loud instrumentals. The verses still have relatively loud instrumentals, but the vocals are quiet. The choruses are very loud, though. Very good bass riff at about 2:10. Not a very complex song again, pretty straightforward metal. This song relies a bit too much on heaviness, trying to drown out the sound of poor vocal and guitar work. A very weird whispery part at 3:40, that isn't very good. I believe this song also has the vocals "Internal Primates Forever" in it, maybe linking the drug theme with the primal urges theme" I don't know. The outro has very good vocals backing Chad's screaming, and is one of the best parts of this song. A good, long, straightforward rocker.
Under My Skin: 7/10. Another very loud song. Opens right up with extreme heaviness. Very generic lyrics on this song, though, it's just Chad raging against some undefined tormentor. The verses are also rather lame, but the choruses are pretty good. At the very least, they'll get you headbanging. Another good song for Ryan, but not his best. He plays very fast for a bass player on this song. Oh, and there is also some incredibly lame rapping from Chad, with lines such as: "Rippin' through your life like a motherf*ckin' hurricane, fist full of Novocain for the pain." That's lame by anyone's standings, even nu-metal rappers. Pretty cool outro though, I'll give it that. Another sort of filler-like song.
(K)now F(orever): 10/10. A very good half minute instrumental piece opens this song. Another song with the heavy chorus/quiet verse formula. But the chorus is very good instrumentally, and the vocals aren't terrible either. Cool bass riffs in this song, with Greg only hammering out the occasional chord and letting Ryan carry this song on his back. Mudvayne does this most of the time, because Ryan is just so incredible. Some cool riffing during the bridge, which begins at about 3:20. The coolest part of this song is the drumming by Matt at about 4:20 and onwards, its incredible. This song quiets down for a bit after the five minute mark, but it will get loud again. The long outro with a cool bass riff starts at about 6:20, and the song is pretty much over from then, it just gets more and more distorted until it fades into the filler Lethal Dosage. Overall, this song is great. It is very complex, with lots of melody changes and different riffs. An epic song, no doubt. One of the best on the album, definitely in the top five.
Overall, this album probably defines the entire nu-metal genre. It is packed full of great bass playing and drumming, and relatively intelligent vocals. Also, while lots of nu-metal bands such as System of a Down and Disturbed have to make their songs short, Mudvayne can play six minute epics that don't ever get boring. Those are their strength, not the short singles like Dig and Not Falling. A must own for fans of nu-metal.
1. Nothing To Gein
1. Everything and Nothing
2. Under My Skin