Mudvayne – L.D. 50

mudvayne-ld-50-atoms
Nu Metal always had its weird side, and Mudvayne are trying to take it to the extreme. “Dig” was an obvious single, but Mudvayne’s quirks are there. The hook is a catchy chant, but behind the chanting the band just beats the sound to the ground. There’s a messiness and intensity to the riffs that doesn’t match other Nu Metal bands. More is going on besides noise or groovey riffs.

The bounce of “Internal Primates Forever” only confirms Mudvayne are on to something special. The “jump!” screaming adds some fun to song that tries so hard to be complex. For all of its shifting part and Patton-esque vocals, it’s a fun rocker. Both of these songs are brilliant because the band sounds like they can do anything and still make it accessible and intense and moshpit-friendly. It’s a more complex but organized version of Slipknot’s early output.

The next two tracks are okay, but it’s hard to find the difference between them. The band had a great sound, but all of their ideas were done in the first two songs and “Under My Skin” which only arrives at the end.

What went wrong? There are interesting moments. The tempo shifts in “Death Blooms” are effective and the band sounds good in a more funky setting. The melodic beginning of “-1” isn’t catchy, but it’s an addition that still contributes and adds contrast. The band never sounds tired.

It’s so boring, though. It’s hard to make a loud album that wants to literally break ground with its anger. Some did it, but not like Mudvayne. Glassjaw had heartbreak that made every song stick out. My Ticket Home’s album was short and catchy. Nine Inch Nails made it an EP. Even Slipknot couldn’t drag this for a whole album. Melody made their music heavier, but they still ran out of steam at the end of Vol. 3.

It’s somewhere around “Cradle” that the album loses all potential of a masterpiece. The song doesn’t end where it should but literally restarts. It exhausts all of its ideas and restarts anyway. Worse, it’s not very different than what came before.

It turns out Mudvayne don’t do much with their intense sound. Most of the songs consist of the vocalist screaming while the band pummels in the back and being loud. Catchy hooks and funky breaks are rare, and they’re always too short and too late to save the song.

The attempt at rapping in “Under My Skin” is a blessing. It doesn’t matter whether the label ‘forced’ them to make it or not. You can actually find traces of Hip-Hop in previous songs, anyway. It’s a lighter, catchier and more organized songs than everything around it. The band finally sounds experimental as they want to be. Being experimental isn’t just removing hooks. It also offers the guitarist to play other riffs besides slow sledgehammers.

L.D. 50 deserves some credit for making interludes sound like a good idea. The interludes scattered around the album (which also steal all the best song titles) connect to the songs, and the weird electronics offers a nice respite from the chaos. “Dig” sounds more effective if you have the build-up of “Monolith”. If only Mudvayne used these electronics to create actual songs. Maybe we could have had a nice contrast of cold electronica and chaothic Nu Metal. There’s some fun to be had here, but it’s a band being ambitious without any idea what to do.

2 doses out of 5

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5 thoughts on “Mudvayne – L.D. 50”

  1. Hey man,

    I found you over on rateyourmusic.com

    Your review of Relapse cracked me up!

    So I went through and checked out some of your other reviews. I noticed you had a ton of nu-metal. I too am kind of a nu-metalologist!

    I liked this album a lot more than you though. I put this at that higher tier of nu-metal which aspires for artistry as well as some dumb fun. I think I sometimes enjoy albums for attempting things and failing rather than staying in the safe zone.

    Anyway, I think I’ve reviewed most nu-metal classics on my blog too so it’d be cool to talk more about that. I didn’t just type this out for you to ‘CHECK ME OUT’ in return though. I really do dig the originality of your opinions. I totally agree with the review of White Phony where you stated that nu-metal is more experimental than people think!

    Keep it up,

    BOX

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    1. Thanks for the comment. It means a lot.
      I understand the appeal of this album. It aspires way higher than most Nu Metal and “Internal Primates Forever” is almost perfect. It’s bouncy, catchy and progressive at the same time. The rest is just a mess.
      If you want to see how good Nu Metal is when it aspires higher, try Factory 81’s Mankind (Deftones if they kept the Nu Metal edge), (hed) pe’s self-titled and Five Pointe O’s Untitled. I want to review all of these here – they deserve it.
      I’m glad to see another person appreciates Nu Metal. I’m planning to write a whole post on why the genre is so good. The best albums in it are a mix of fun and experimentation that just get so much right. I’ll definitely follow your blog.
      Stay in touch. If you got Skype let me know.

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      1. Hey man,
        Looking forward to that nu-metal round up!

        I’ve heard HED PE. They defo did aspire for more. I think the early releases of Slipknot and Limp Bizkit were also very ambitious. Yet when nu-metal became a huge mainstream success most of the break out bands watered down their sounds considerably. Most of these bands got it right on their first and second albums and then trailed off. A lot of nu-metal bands decided they needed to make slow tempo ballads a part of their repertoire!

        I defo enjoy IOWA more than you seemed to as well. It’s a really ambitious album! It has moments of unintentional humor, hooks, and challenging experimentation in it’s title track. I’m not sure whether I like it more than the self-titled. It’s kind of their in utero and has hilarious stories of them torturing themselves in the studio to get the pain ‘real’

        Btw I am on Skype. My name is william.bradbury72

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      2. Actually, ballads and melody were always present. What happened is that they toned down their weirdness.
        Nu Metal got backlash because people thought “Huh, this doesn’t sound like 1000 other Thrash Metal records. UNORIGINAL!!!” and so many bands shed their quirks. Disturbed is the best example. “Immortalized” is utter crap, while their debut had songs like “Droppin’ Plates”.
        Slipknot also fell to that, removing the rapping and having less electronica. They never went full-retard like Disturbed, though.
        IOWA is just too one-dimensional for me. It’s very aggressive and loud but doesn’t have enough quirks or songcraft. It’s good and it has some bomb – “Peolpe=Shit”, “Disasterpiece” and “Left Behind” but it’s too much.

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  2. Well as for nu-metal being tied in with metal, it’s interesting that probably only Korn and Slipknot really survived the scene with any sort of credibility whilst Deftones escaped it into a kind of art rock genre of their own (though this is actually what nu-metal originally was).

    I still think you’re a bit harsh on Iowa. The Heretic anthem is one of their most fun songs too and it has moments much weirder than their first album, but respect your opinion. I think the fact that it’s ‘too much’ is part of the experience. It’s an ambitious beast.

    It’s a shame that nu-metal got replaced with that horrible POST GRUNGE stuff like Nickleback.

    It really was a weird blend of genres and uncompromising in a way too. Weird music. Funny music. Sometimes sad but always human.

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