Live Review: Mudvayne - The Wiltern, Los Angeles
Wed, 12 Nov 2008 14:44:09
A Mudvayne show doesn't feel like a concert. Rather, it's the musical equivalent of A Clockwork Orange. It's a metallic bludgeoning of the purist catharsis and most calculated method. It's really, as Alex DeLarge would say, "Another night of the old ultra violence." However, for a heavy metal fan, there's absolutely nothing better than that.
Tension was palpable in the packed Wiltern. Mudvayne hasn't toured in almost three years, and the band's fourth full-length album, The New Game, is a week away from hitting shelves. Los Angeles crowds aren't the easiest to impress, but Mudvayne didn't disappoint. After an ominous intro, the band assaulted the stage with "Not Falling."
Immediately, singer Chad Gray started stalking the stage furiously. He charged towards the crowd on every single scream. His voice sounded pristine during the clean verses, and as he growled the heavier parts, he simply dominated the stage. He's one of those rare metal frontmen that can pull off both extremes seamlessly, and he does it with aplomb. Instead of a traditional backdrop, a red curtain hung from the ceiling with separate flags bearing the band's logo. It looked more like some sort of war room than a regular stage setup, and Mudvayne certainly declared war on a lot of things.
"Silenced" attacked censorship at the jugular with a funk-infused jazz bass line courtesy of four-string maestro Ryan Martinie and a snaky riff from guitarist Greg Tribbett. The strobe lights blared furiously as the band members paced around the stage. The energy felt impenetrable. Chad had a red Mohawk on top of his head and once again wore the "Dead Bunny Suit" from previous tours. Right before "-1," he proclaimed, "I put on my special suit for you. I hope you don't mind." Of course, no one did. Theatricality is integral to Mudvayne, and the fans love that. The cinematic nature of the show is just as important as the musical mayhem for fans.
Mudvayne delivered that mayhem in spades, heavily culling the set from their earlier offerings L.D. 50 and The End of All Things to Come. "Death Blooms," "Cradle" and "Prod" were as unsettling as they've ever been, blending Chad's twisted, brilliant lyrics over off-kilter rhythms and shaky riffs. Drummer Matt McDonough provided an impenetrable percussive palette for the rest of the band to paint over on "Happy?" and "World So Cold." Tribbett got to showcase his talent even further on the new cut "Do What You Do." He ripped a soaring solo across the song's gruff, distorted battlefield, as Chad belted out its infectious hook.
At one point during the set, Chad exclaimed, "I believe in this." Considering the attention and care that the band put into every element of the show, that proved undeniably true. Mudvayne believe in their craft. They believe in the fans, and they believe in the music. As the last round concluded with Mudvayne's breakthrough single "Dig," all of their droogies were satisfied. Mudvayne are back. Beware.