It used to be that Mudvayne was always the runner-up to Slipknot for "most theatrical nü-metal band." But now that the Illinois four-piece has abandoned its costumes, makeup and stage names, what's left?
Quite a bit, actually—even after frontman Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett moonlighted as members of Vinnie Paul's latest band, Hellyeah, and Mudvayne released the more rawk-based The New Game last November to lukewarm results. At its core, though, Mudvayne remains one of the era's most musically engaging acts, featuring the rock-solid rhythm section of precise-as-hell drummer Matthew McDonough and Ryan Martinie, bar none the best bassist in the genre. And recent setlists have shown the band acknowledging as much, sticking closely to the band's first two albums, where the technical interplay between the instruments led to the band often being dubbed "math metal."
Thanks to those discs, despite all the grief the band once received because of its perceived affiliation with lesser bands and from being dubbed "rap-metal" (even though Gray has always been a singer/screamer), Mudvayne's musicianship has maintained a legitimacy—something most other bands in the genre never attain.
Nü-metal cockroaches Nonpoint and metalcore up-and-comers In This Moment, featuring frontwoman and (clothed) Playboy model Maria Brink, open.