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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 6, 2009

Review: Mud coats the fairgrounds, blood covers Gray

By Zach Simeone

ALTAMONT — After more than a decade in the game, metal giant Mudvayne came to the Capital Region to rock the fairgrounds at Edgefest 2009, and did so with a style that has made the group one of the most unique rock acts of the last 10 years.

But gone are the days when guitarist Greg Tribbett appeared on the band’s ominously dark stage setup as a floating red visage, when bassist Ryan Martinie’s makeup made him look like he had just pulled his head out of an incinerator, when drummer Matthew McDonough was made up like a half moon, and when lead vocalist Chad Gray would grace the stage with a silver face and a three-foot, braided blue beard that matched the color of his spikey hairdo.

Instead, the quartet mostly wore black street clothes, with one exception.

“Chad came out in a big monkey suit,” Martinie, the band’s bassist, said after the show, contesting the idea that the band had left its costumes behind. “That would be a misnomer,” he laughed.

When the band opened with “Not Falling,” a hit from the 2002 album, The End of All Things to Come, Gray wore what looked like the hide of a massive ape, and let out a deafening roar to kick things off.

“The show was great,” Martinie said. “The fans were cheering; it’s a beautiful day; the sun’s out — couldn’t ask for much more.”

Gray removed the furry suit after the first three songs, but the madness continued, as he dove into the crowd mid-song only moments later.

The band, known for its intricate compositions, riddled with tempo changes that keep the listener guessing, and with a vocalist whose range encompasses the smooth tone of a siren’s call and the growl of a demon, played a dozen songs that included tracks from all four of its studio albums.

Throughout the set, a tidal wave of saturated distortion poured off the stage that was as heavy as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

During “Death Blooms,” Gray serenaded the audience with a melodic concoction of vibrant singing and beastly snarls, characteristic of all Mudvayne songs. This track, off the group’s debut record, L.D. 50, is about his family’s neglect of his grandmother as age took her.

“Do What You Do,” the band’s latest single off 2008’s The New Game, was played to a great deal of fanfare, as the crowd chanted the chorus: “Just do what you do, what you do, what you did to me,” Gray crowed. “Now I’m stuck in between a rock and nowhere, with nothing, with no one.”

“Nothing to Gein,” off the band’s first album, is inspired by the life of Ed Gein, a known serial killer and grave robber. The transitions between the melodic, heavy, and sometimes funky chapters of this song were pulled off with the same technical proficiency that the band displayed on the album, recorded nearly 10 years ago.

“Life of a simple man, taught that everyone else is dirty, and their love is meaningless, I'm so soiled,” Gray sang, repeating a lyric from the murderer’s ballad, as the rest of band transitioned into an interlude with entirely new music to underscore this line from the previous song, which Gray began to sing with new notes that were in harmony with the rest of the band.

Towards the end of the show, the band played the hit single “Happy?” off the 2005 release, Lost and Found, and closed with Dig, the band’s very first single, off the decade-old L.D. 50.

Throughout, Martinie’s bass filled in the lower frequencies with unmatched precision, both hands traveling up and down the neck of his instrument like spiders crawling down a wall. One feature that makes Mudvayne a rare breed is the way Martinie’s bass playing sometimes resembles a lead guitar, as Tribbett slips back and chugs along with McDonough’s drums in the rhythm section.

In the wake of Mudvayne’s wave of destruction, one can hope that the supposed End of All Things to Come does not rule out the possibility of Mudvayne’s playing Edgefest 2010.

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