Mudvayne's Self titled album has been cited as a return to form in the pre release hype, it is strongly suggested that this album is a return to the style of the band's fantastic `End of All Things To Come,' album, and a departure from the bands commercially unsuccessful `The New Game .'
However the album was completed quite a long time ago, almost straight after `The New Game,' but was delayed because Mudvayne members had commitments with Hell Yeah and wouldn't be able to promote the album, had it been release when it was completed. This suggests that the album would be much closer in style to `A New Game,' as the band wouldn't have had time to react to the poor reception of `A New Game,' at the writing stage of this new album.
It turns out that the claims of a return to form are not the cynical marketing strategy they may have seemed like at first. The album isn't exactly a rehash of TEOATTC but nor is it the companion piece to `The New Game,' many Mudvayne fans feared it would be. The album is hands down a huge improvement and generally a very strong album; taking elements of `The New Game,' and `Lost and Found,' such as the odd guitar solo, radio ballads and classic rock and alternative tendencies and mixing them with the general attitude and approach of TEOATTC.
The first three songs the band posted on their MySpace, `Beautiful and Strange,' `Heard it All Before,' were as strong as the best moments from the band's last two albums and suggested the record would be good, and the more commercial single `Scream With Me,' was a wholly enjoyable radio song regardless of musical direction.
`All Talk,' and even the initially heavy `Closer,' show the bands melodic side off in a much fresher and exciting way than ever before; not the bland commercial radio fodder style of melody, but well thought out and artistic material that really displays how the style should be applied to metal.
The album isn't all retreading old ground either, the song `Out to Pasture,' takes the band in a new direction altogether, mixing Black Light Burns style music with a series of brash almost discordant build ups that shift back to the alternative music over fast double kick drum work without ever taking off, The song is really quite interesting and proves the band aren't afraid to try something different.
The album ends with a twangy acoustic guitar driven ballad, entitled `Dead Inside,' which is both new ground for the band and a fantastic album closer.
Areas such as the production, musicianship and lyrics are the same high quality Mudvayne fans have came to expect. As always with this band, the album's production is brilliant, the drums sound fantastic and the bass has been captured really well, as has the guitar which is full of energy. The mixture of clever and insightful lyrics (along with awful lines like `Not By The Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin Chin Chin,' which may be off putting to new comers) have always been a staple of Mudvayne albums, so if you can shrug off the occasional poor or odd line you find a fantastic and surprisingly intellectual set of lyrics that compliment the music perfectly.
Album highlights include `I Can't Wait,' which is Mudvayne's heaviest song in quite some time, with frantic drumming containing loads of tom rolls, super fast double bass, a huge chunky guitar song and some of Chad's harshest vocals to date and `Beyond The Pale,' which may start off like a traditional mid album Mudvayne track, but after the first verse the song becomes so vital and energetic that it is really one of the best things the band have ever put out, containing a gigantic Pantera sounding chorus that is guaranteed to lift your spirits and a fantastic heavy breakdown that is a million miles away from the material found on the bands more recent work.
In conclusion, this is a very interesting Mudvayne album that just may win back fans who have written the band off and will certainly be appreciated by everyone who stuck with the band, this may not be everything the hype claims it to be but it is a really strong record worth checking out. I urge you to give it a listen.