Sound — 8
Mudvaynes sound to me has always been a perculiar one, some of that has been lost in recent years, but with their latest record they've gained some of that "strangeness" back. First of all, I advise any person who goes out and buys this album, to clear your mind before you listen to the record. If you expect L.D.50-2.0 you're not gonna get it, if you expect a follow up to the new game, you're not gonna get it. This record is a mix of everything that is Mudvayne, and according to the band members in recent interviews, that is the reason why it is self-titled. The packaging itself is something rather unique, black-light reactive artwork by Paul Booth is amazing and it really is a cool concept, appearing as just plain white packaging if no black light is shined upon it, so it really is a treat. Now enough mumbling, to the music. The album opener 'Beautiful and Strange' is the raw opening a metal album needs, with a strange intro before we hit a massively aggressive double kick intro, before it breaks down into a nice chunky riff, definitely one of the heavier numbers on the record. The next song '1000 Mile Journey' is really a call back to The End Of All Things To Come, it honeslty feels like it belongs on that record, drums, bass, guitar and the vocals all hit the spot on this song it's really catchy, with a sing-a-long chorus. 'Scream With Me' is the first single and you can see why, its completely and utterly radio friendly, not really getting heavy at all, that would not bother fans of 'The New Game' and 'Lost and Found' but for me, this is the low point of the album, but at only 2:52, that low point is short-lived and relatively painless. Next up is 'Closer', now brace for it, dont be fooled by the relatively calm intro, this song is pretty heavy, but again with a nice sing-a-long catchy chorus, but those verses and bridge are some of the most brutal work by Chad Gray in years. Ryan's Bass work and Matt's Drumming really stick out on this song, but there's a nice solo in their from Greg. 'Heard It All Before' comes in next, and you will feel exactly that, like you've heard it before. Chad and Greg's work with Hellyeah namely Vinnie Paul seem to come through on this song as I find it very 'Pantera'-esque. After a little flashy guitar intro, a massive Chunky riff comes in for the verses, I find it similar in ways to the main riff from 'Walk'. But nevertheless this song has a 'Mudvayne' twist on it, with the best solo Greg Tribbett has ever done, in my opinion, and for those who are worried about Chad's voice, wait for the epic 18 second scream towards the end of this song. The song concludes with a chunky riff and fades out to the same guitar piece heard out at the start of the song. 'I Can't Wait' follows the same path, not dropping the ball and keeping the heavy aspects with nice fat, chunky riffs, not the fastest song, but still heavy as all hell, and again you'll see a massive use of double-kick drumming in this song. Should be one of the highlights for most listeners as its everything what Mudvayne entails. Next up is 'Beyond The Pale', with a Bass-driven intro, which I find very cool, this song breaks out to a relatively simple riff, with the bass and drums driving the verses until you hit the chorus, which for the first time in a while is heavier than the verses! I find this song to be one of my highlights because it's strange and different which is the main reason I listen to 'Mudvayne' 'All Talk' is another relatively radio-friendly song, a very timid verses, but the chorus is catchy and pretty darn awesome, You'll be singin along in the car for sure. 'L.D. 50' and 'The End Of All Things To Come' Fans, the next song is for you for sure, 'Out To Pasture' is a call back to those days, and the best song on the album for me, another bass intro which builds suspense, then another very subtle verse continues to build until you hit the Chorus and my god, is it a releif to hear something like this from Mudvayne! It might not be as technical as 'Severed' or as strange as 'Skrying' but this is as close as you'll get to those years between the last three albums. Amazing song, really it is fantastic. 'Burn The Bridge' comes up next and again bringing the tempo back up with a heavy, heavy verse, until the song breaks out to a chorus, you can imagine the whole crowd singing at a show. It's heavy, it's catchy, it's great. 'Dead Inside' closes the album, the acoustic track, written by Greg along time ago is really mind-twisting, there's no great guitar work, there's no drums, theres no bass, it's just Chad and Greg and it is a pretty haunting song, but with such a weird way to close the album, what else would you expect from the Peoria quartet?
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics overall are really diverse, there's no theme to this album really, but it seems like Chad has some supressed anger he's felt like getting out, since 'The New Game' was so timid, both musically, lyrically and vocally. It seems like he's back to writing about abuse, oppresion and hate-filled relationships, and I personally, welcome that with open arms. Chad's voice is great, as mentioned before he hits and 18 second scream and some other brutal notes on other tracks. Although his voice isn't as gutteral as it was on L.D. 50 but that's probably through wear and tear. But his nasily voice during his cleans still sounds as good as it always has, elegant at times even. He's really picked up his game personally and that's great to see and hear!
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this album is at least their third best, but honestly to some people, this could rival 'The End Of All Things to Come' for that second spot, while 'L.D. 50' is still a cut above the rest. It has its 'Lost and Found' moments and 'Scream With Me' sounding like it belongs on the new game. So it really does live up to the eponymous title, it really is a mix of everything that is Mudvayne, so theoritically it should appeal to all types of Mudvayne fans. My favourite tracks in preferential order are: 01. Out To Pasture 02. Heard It All Before 03. 1000 Mile Journey 04. Beautiful and Strange 05. Beyond The Pale I really enjoy this album, I can listen to it the whole way through with thorough enjoyment, if it were stolen, personally I'd think the person would be an idiot, because I doubt they have a black light to see the artwork! But then I'd go and buy another album for sure, it's a great album and worthy of a solid 8.