There has been a lot going against the release of MUDVAYNE’s album “The New Game”. They waited 3 years since their last (and disappointing) album “Lost And Found”. In that time, two of the members went off and co-founded the party band HELLYEAH. The band released an album of rarities and B-sides. And then the band decided to go back and re-record this album with new songs thusly postponing its release once again. So this album had quite a few speed bumps to go through before finally being released.
So after all the fans went through to hear this release…this is what we got?
“Lost And Found” was the band showing its radio friendly Hard Rock side more than ever before, and although it was disappointing overall it had some great moments. “The New Game” on the other hand is MUDVAYNE pushing even further away from their Nu Metal roots and planting themselves firmly into mainstream Hard Rock. Besides a couple of the heavier songs, this album is made up of middle-of-the-road cliché melodic Hard Rock songs that almost completely forego any of the band's memorable qualities. It’s as if the band has completely turned their backs on their past and are only looking for the hook instead of the depth.
Perhaps it’s not as bad as I claim, but as a longtime fan of the band, I question the integrity of this album. The use of odd rhythms and edge is minutely incorporated at best and much of the great solid songwriting has turned into simplistic and repetitive hooks. There are only a few songs I would consider for any kind of repeated listening and those would even be low on the list.
There are some redeemable qualities to “The New Game” I will admit. The addition of guitar solos to a few of the songs is a nice change of pace and an added pleasure for a few songs. There are some moments of older MUDVAYNE ideas that pop up occasionally (the odd rhythmatic structure of “Fish Out Of Water” or the edgy streak on the album finale “We The People” for example) but even songs with these moments are just undermined by the new found focus on the radio-friendly hook. Listen to “Same Ol” a couple of times and one will know what I mean.
I just wanted MUDVAYNE to bounce back from all the setbacks mentioned in the introduction to a grand epic album and “The New Game” is nothing like that. It’s an album made up of potential radio singles without a thread to string them together or the depth to make this album lasting. I can only hope that this album is an experimental phase for the band and that eventually they will return to the great elements that made them a unique listen.
Songs to check out: “Dull Boy”, “The New Game”, “Fish Out Of Water”.
(Online December 7, 2008)