Mudvayne

Mudvayne

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Mudvayne's self-titled album is slightly heavier than 2008's The New Game, but it still features songs written in their current default mode, which is a sort of combination of Linkin Park and Tool -- churning basslines, the occasional faux-tribal rhythm, lots of angsty roaring and crooned choruses. Lyrics like "the death of love as we know it" raise serious questions about whether these guys -- and the entire nu metal generation -- are as emotionally stunted and scarred as they seem, or whether they've latched onto a schtick and can't imagine switching gears for fear of losing their share of an already diminished market. There are some surprises on Mudvayne, like a surprisingly Slash-like guitar solo on "Closer" and the death metal intro to the Slipknot-esque "I Can't Wait," but too much of it is more of the same from the band and its genre. On their second album, 2002's The End of All Things to Come, Mudvayne really seemed to be onto something, moving in the direction of progressive rock while remaining extremely heavy. But with each subsequent album, they've become harder to defend -- trawling for radio hits, and in the process sapping the power of their best stuff. "I Can't Wait" is the only song on Mudvayne that recalls the Mudvayne of old, the one that held promise. The new one is represented by almost everything else here, most egregiously the acoustic bathos of "Dead Inside" (and how clich├ęd is that title?). There's an entire generation of young bands making furious, cranked-up metal. Warmed-over nu metal whiners like Mudvayne need to observe the territory and sack up.

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