Mudvayne Lost and Found
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Forgoing the makeup and costumes, Mudvayne has made the decision to strip themselves down to the bare elements, creating an album that's conceptually simpler and far more straightforward. While I can fully get behind the fact that I'm sure they're tired of wearing the crazy outfits, the stripping down of character seems to have left them musically, well, uninteresting.

The album opens with Determined, a powerful, hammering track that feels stripped straight from an early 90's Pantera album. Generally, when I make these kind of written connections, they're usually underlying and even inferred, but in this instance, the connection is so strong, it's rather hard to avoid. The second track, Pushing Through, is a more thrashing track that feels less borrowed from other sources. The vocals are bitter - roaring angrily at the listener. Happy? is obviously a radio-friendly effort, filled with softer, kinder vocals and more low-key melodies. The song obviously panders to the MTV crowd, so much so that it's likely to churn the stomach of most people who liked the band previously.

And like Jekyll and Hyde, the album severely shifts gears with IMN, a powerfully thrashing track that takes some time to build to its more powerful chords. IMN features some of the more esoteric moments of the album, with off-kilter bass lines reminiscent of L.D.50. This is followed by Fall Into Sleep, yet another radio-friendly track that kills any momentum the previous track had built. Rain. Sun. Gone. is a more moody track, bouncing between powerful metal and more low-tone interludes. This song rolls right into the lengthy opus of Choices, a strong effort that features harmonic vocals that actually work to the benefit of the song. While I fault some of the more radio-friendly efforts earlier in the album, the harmony of this track seems to work just right.

Forget to Remember is a pretty by-the-numbers song that proves to be a bit boring. Honestly, it sounds like pretty much like any other "wanna-be" rock act. This is followed by TV Radio, which is even more tedious in delivery. Just tries to shake things up by offering more powerful drum beats and trashing guitar tracks, but without much in the way of intrigue, it proves to be the more metal buffer between pop-rock tracks. This is followed by All That You Are, a moody up-tempo ballad that has moments of anger and power. Sadly enough, the final track, Pulling The String, is one of the more interesting as it offers both interesting bass and guitar lines along with a shifting tempo.

Make no mistake - the songwriting and performance isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, if you want a pure rock/metal album that makes little effort to be unique in a genre glut with "me too" bands, then Lost and Found is your cup of tea. It lacks the variety and willingness to experiment that L.D.50 had, and because of that, feels far less interesting. Too much of the album feels watered down in an effort to be more MTV-friendly, and because of this, Mudvanye loses what made them so interesting.

- - Vane

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