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Album review: Mudvayne

December 21, 2009 |  6:48 pm
Mudvayne After the exceedingly nerdy concept pop-metal album "The New Game," Mudvayne has by and large returned to what it does  best (or at least do frequently) on its new self-titled album. Drums roil, guitars tangle and singer Chad Gray continues to do terrible things to his larynx in service of the band's grind.

It's all old hat for the members, who have yet to recapture the almost charming absurdity of their breakthrough "L.D. 50," but if your metal-head blood sugar is a bit low, "Mudvayne" is an easy fix.

Except for a few failed radio-bait cuts  such as "Scream With Me" and "All Talk," "Mudvayne" keeps its tempos quick and the riffage constant. "Heard It All Before" conjures an entire adolescence worth of gnarly hormones in its half-time chorus rage, while "Burn the Bridge" walks a tricky time-signature tightrope.

Gray's lyrics are inscrutable notebook doodling like "They say the dead men don't pull triggers, but I'll prove them wrong," but you don't listen to Mudvayne to learn something. You listen to count the kick-drum fills while you psych yourself up to use your fake ID to buy beer at the gas station for the first time. On that front at least, Mudvayne is very much back in form.

-- August Brown

Epic Records
2 stars (out of four)