Mudvayne released this album when they made their comeback after a short hiatus caused by Vinne Paul’s Hell Yeah touring schedule. This album was supposed to have come out over a year earlier than it did, but it would be economically unsound to release it and then not be able to tour in support of it; so the album was only released now.
It was followed in six months by another full length studio album, and so this album may be perceived as either too late or only half of a set.
On purely musical merit, this album is not the best album the band have ever recorded but is a good album none the less which is pleasant and enjoyable to listen to if you are open minded. Stylistically the album picks up where ‘Lost and Found,’ left off, continuing Mudvayne’s transition from individual, creative, complicated Jazzy metal into the bland American radio rock that bands Like Disturbed are flirting with.
The album contains several songs that were clearly written to be singles, and several dull mid album tracks that at first seem to never really get going, though which repeat listens will reveal greater depth within.
The standout tracks for fans of the bands first two albums are ‘We The People,’ ‘A New Game,’ and ‘The Hate In Me,’ Which are the heaviest and most complex, although these songs flirt with melody and sing along choruses, they do so in a much more natural and likable way. These tracks can grow on you a lot if you let them and give a much more favourable view of the album to you once you allow yourself to get into it.
However, for the fan who thought ‘Happy?’ was the band’s best song, there is plenty on this album to enjoy; its all very pleasant, well written and catchy music, its not dark and angry like ‘LD.50,’ or Ponderous and Thoughtful like ‘The End Of All Things To Come,’ and if that’s not what you like about the band then this album is perfect for you.
It may have received many negative reviews due to the stylistic shift and new commercial leanings, but it is important to note that even though the style of music has changed doesn’t automatically mean that you will not like it, for example while ‘Scarlet Letters,’ would be out of place on LD.50 with its semi acoustic intro and simple structure, the song is still incredibly listenable and contains all the passion and musicianship you expect from Mudvayne, just in a more easy and accessible form.
My Main worry is that the album will “not matter” in a few years; LD.50 and The End Of All Things To Come still get regular plays in my and the majority of my friends lives, where as the toning down of ‘Lost and Found,’ has resulted in an album that only gets listened to as one or two tracks, despite its high quality. The New Game is even more radio rock, and perhaps that means its even more disposable, especially when the band followed it up with a much heavier album afterwards.
Only time can tell, but if you buy it you’ll certainly enjoy it for a few months at least, which justifies the price, I just don’t think the band will support it much live after a few more albums have been released. If this isn’t a problem, at least give it a fair try, you may be surprised how much you like it.