The recording and release of Mudavyne's eponymously-titled fifth album is shrouded in mystery. Hitting store shelves less than year after the absolute flop that was "The New Game," some spectators suspected the rush-release and lack of promotion for this record was consequential to the massive failure of its predecessor. The only statement released by the band prior to this 2009 release was that they "...were in the studio writing new material to be released later this year."
"Mudvayne," sheds most of the ailments that terrorized "The New Game," and re-instates their iconic shifting rhythms into most of the album's cuts. They rarely come close to matching the complexity of the best moments on "L.D 50" and "The End of All Things To Come," but the end result is something that stylistically sounds like the record that should have come before "Lost and Found."
"Beautiful and Strange," and "Beyond the Pale," recall the prominent rhythmic-drive that powered 2002's "The End of All Things To come." "I Can't Wait," and "Out to Pasture," excavate the chaotic atmostphere of "L.D. 50." Even most of the experiments that take place on "Mudvayne" prove successful. "Heard It All Before," showcases the group channeling the thrash-heavy vibes of Pantera, including a solo from Tribett that's as memorable as any recorded by 'Dimebag' Darrell himself. And closer "Dead Inside" (despite its outdated title) is an unexpectedly driven acoustic-only play.
There's drastically less to be considered filler on "Mudvayne" compared to "The New Game," but the band does not fully abandon their voyage for garnering radio-play and the fan-base that comes packaged with it. "Closer," and "Scream With Me," are both stronger than most of what is found on "The New Game," and "Lost and Found." The shortcoming is the blatant reliance on hooks in both tracks. "L.D. 50" had its share of catchy riffs, but they were usually delivered in small doses. On Sophomore effort "The End of All Things to Come," Mudvayne had truly seemed to hit their passion stride, ditching hooks almost entirely to favor a more progressive approach that fit their math-metal blitz like a glove. Both songs sound entirely compatible with the roster of "Lost and Found," which is not necessarily a con.
Ultimately, "Mudvayne," is a summary of nearly every trick the band has tried since their birth. Featuring the greatest elements of their LPs while also showcasing sincere growth within the songwriting of both guitarist Tribett and vocalist Gray (the notably weaker half of Mudvayne), this self-titled fifth album will undoubtedly satisfy Mudvayne fans new and old.