Mudvayne: Matthew McDonough (Drums), Chad Gray (Lead Vocals), Greg Tibbett (Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals), Ryan Martinie (Bass)
First, they looked like some
sort of combination of KISS and Slipknot and they were known as sPaG, Kud, Gurrg, and RyKnow. Then they went for the Close Encounters of the Third Kind look and slightly altered their names to sPüG, Chüd, Güüg, and Rü-d. Finally, they said “fuck it” and ditched the Halloween shtick. Now Mudvayne just looks like any ol’ nu-metal band, but they’re still pumping out the tunes. They recently released a compilation album called By the People, For the People that brings together demo and live versions of previously released songs as well as two b-sides. The album’s title comes from the fact that these songs were chosen by Mudvayne fans. There’s also a couple new songs to satiate any drooling listener out there.
Seeing as I have always enjoyed Mudvayne, By the People, For the People is a great opportunity since it has given me the chance to get a quick look behind the scenes of the band’s creative process. Keeping in mind that the demos sound a lot rougher than the finished versions, most of the songs sound really good for what they are. The “Death Blooms” demo, for example, is like listening to the finished song from L.D. 50 for the first time all over again. And it almost has a little more emotional power in how raw and unpolished it sounds. I guess it sounds a little more “real.” However, the demo version of “Not Falling” sounds horrible. I can’t really complain since it’s just basically a rough sketch of what the finished product should sound like. In the very short introductions Chad Gray seems to make this point most strong before “Not Falling” as if to compensate for how severely coarse it sounds. The major problem with the demo is that the vocals in the chorus are horribly messy and it sounds like the timing of the song hadn’t quite been worked out.
Their live stuff is kind of interesting. I have never been that big a fan of listening to recorded live music. I would rather hear stuff that was recorded in a studio or somewhere else where the band is playing for a home audience rather than a live crowd. Even so, the live version of “Dig” is really intense and they even play it a little faster. It’s interesting to hear slightly different takes on previously done material. Speaking of redone songs, Mudvayne has an acoustic version of “Forget to Remember” that actually sounds really interesting. At first, when I saw “Acoustic” in one of the track titles, I started to laugh on the inside at the concept. But the song ends up being really good. It reminds me of Days of the New.
As far as the new stuff goes, “Dull Boy” is a testament to the fact that Mudvayne can still produce nice and heavy music. It’s not as interesting or unique as some of their older stuff off of L.D. 50 or The End of All Things to Come, but it’s still a decent song that’s sure to please any dedicated fan. The second new song is, believe it or not, a cover of The Police’s “King of Pain.” It has enough of the song’s original vibe mixed with Mudvayne’s own singular spin on it that even thinking about it produces a look on my face like I just bit into one of those Mega Warheads just because it’s so damn strange. But somehow the equation works out and Mudvayne turns out a song that is bound to surprise even the most stalwart fan. But even if this cover sounds like something you might not enjoy, it’s definitely worth giving it a listen just because it’s such a weird experience. It took my brain a while to process whether it enjoyed what was coming through my ears, so hopefully you won’t just dismiss the song immediately like I almost did when you first hear it.
By the People, For the People is probably an album you should get if you’re a hardcore Mudvayne fanatic. If not, maybe you should go for one of their older albums just to hear the end product as opposed to samples of when it was a work in progress. It’s not a bad album by any means, it’s just a historical retrospective of a very recent band, so it’s only really worth it to those who are truly intrigued by that concept.
Purchase By the People, For the People by Mudvayne
Mudvayne – Dig [Live]
Mudvayne – Death Blooms [Intro]
Mudvayne – Death Blooms [Demo]
Mudvayne – On the Move [Demo]
Mudvayne – King of Pain
For more information on Mudvayne, visit their MySpace page.