Mudvayne’s debut album LD.50 is an absolute masterpiece and cruelly overlooked by the press, quick to dismiss it as just another entry in the then omni present nu metal genre.
Had people taken the time to really absorb this album, they would have been able to look past the band’s images, the swearing and the lack of traditional guitar solos responsible for discrediting this record and they would have found an incredibly complex, well thought out and impeccably unique bit of music.
On LD.50 Mudvayne were at the peak of their creativity, feeling free to do things like take the album’s twelve songs and five experimental interludes and crossfade the tracks together in a style usually reserved for progressive rock bands or experimental electronic artists. Similarly, the band were able to mix funk bass and a wah wah guitar section into a song about a serial killer that was otherwise full of heavy distortion, big breakdowns and screaming vocals.
The musicianship on display throughout this album is of a very high quality, the band are so tight and focused, playing awkward staccato patterns with ease and making impossibly ill fitting lyrics fit perfectly due to ingenious vocal patterns and impressive delivery.
The bass guitar, courtesy of Ryan Martinie is top notch, really extra special. Mixing funk, Jazz and rock bass lines into a modern metal album may sound like an unusual idea on paper, but on this album his virtuoso bass playing is an incredible asset, making the songs three dimensional and interesting in a way many of the band’s contemporaries failed to replicate.
Drummer Matt McDonough is one of the finest drummers of the last twenty years and has been one of my personal favourite drummers ever since this album was released. His effortless rolls, distinctive use of double bass patterns instead of traditional styles, very quick ride cymbal work and ability to make convoluted and difficult riffs seem simple by adding the perfect beat under them all raise him high above the majority of drummers out there.
The lyrics are a lot more interesting, in depth and intelligent than you may expect given the media’s criticism of the band for swearing too frequently, songs like `-1,’ and `Death Blooms,’ take subjects that have been overused by other artists and really breathe new life into them.
Stand out songs include the vocally impressive `Cradle,’ and `Prod,’ the aggressive `Under My Skin,’ and the powerful seven minute album closer `(K)now F(orever)’
Overall, LD.50 is an excellent album that is criminally underrated and that you really ought to try.