I’ll admit it. I’m one of those dudes who would like to have another Mudvayne album. I really would. I’d actually settle for a final tour just to get a proper sense of closure for that band. But I’ll just keep waiting.
In the meantime though, the artists formerly known as Mudvayne, particularly guitarist Greg Tribbett, have stayed busy in a variety of bands. Tribbett was doing time with vocalist Chad Gray in the musically inferior Vinnie Paul project Hellyeah until he walked in 2013. Wasting little time he recruited Mudvayne drummer Matt McDonough, Skrape singer Billy Keeton and bassist Perry Stern for a “progressive hard rock” act dubbed Audiotopsy. I’m not sure about the progressive tag, but the music on Natural Causes (Napalm) tends to fluctuate from alternative metal to post-grunge.
On paper the idea of Tribbett and McDonough working together again seems awesome, but the angular and off-kilter Mudvayne rhythms are nowhere to be found here. The closest we get to those days is on ‘Distorted’ and ‘Darken the Rainbow,’ but even then it’s more Lost and Found rather than L.D. 50. And that’s fine because this is a new band and they’re capable of producing their own interesting moments. The best bits on Natural Causes are the songs more in line with grunge (God, I hate that word) like ‘LYLAB’ and ‘The Calling.’ Then you have the strongest track ‘Swim’ which also happens to be the closest to mellow.
Natural Causes starts to show its cracks with songs like ‘Headshot’ and ‘Burn the Sky’ as they feel more like placeholders as opposed to fleshed out compositions. It could have been a noteworthy EP as opposed to a full length that’s been padded out with ideas that haven’t been fully realized. Do we really need interlude ‘H20’ smack in the middle of the album or the three-minute title track outro? Who does outros?
Maybe we can chalk it up to the short gestation period between band formation and album release. These are the growing pains that lead to musical polish. It’s fine, I can wait.
Hopscotch Music Festival, dubbed “America’s (Secretly) Best Festival” and “the premiere experimental and underground festival in America,” returns September 10-12, 2015, to downtown Raleigh, NC at Raleigh City Plaza. Confirmed artists performing include:
Ace Henderson Acid Chaperone Advaeta American Aquarium Ameriglow Bandages Battles Big Ups Birds of Avalon Black Clouds Blaxxx Booher Boulevards Breathers Brief Lives Bully Cakes Da Killa Carlitta Durand Cashmere Cat Chaz French Chelsea Wolfe Choked Out Chulo Clark Cloud Becomes Your Hand Dad & Dad Daniel Romano Deerhunter DJ Earl Dorthia Cottrell Drippy Inputs Dwight Yoakam Echo Courts Elisa Ambrogio Escher EYEHATEGOD Eyes Low Father FAULTS Flock of Dimes Fórn Godflesh Godspeed You! Black Emperor GoldLink Grand Champeen Grandma Sparrow Hank Wood & The Hammerheads Hanz HeCTA Ian William Craig Jake Xerxes Fussell Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC Jenny Hval Jessica Pratt John Chantler Jubilee Keath Mead King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Las Rosas Lawrence English Le1F Leapling Less Western Leverage Models Lilac Shadows Lizzo Lost Trail Loud Boyz Lud Luxe Posh Lydia Loveless Mac McCaughan Mamiffer Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler May Erwin Microkingdom Mitski Moenda Moon Duo Morbids Mumdance Must Be The Holy Ghost Naked Naps Natalie Prass and the Spacebomb Orchestra Nathan Golub Natural Causes New Music Raleigh: Music by Oscar Bettison and Evan Ziporyn Nick James No Love Nocando Nots Obey City OBN IIIs Old Man Gloom Oulipo Outer Spaces Owen Pallett Patois Counselors Peacers Phil Cook presents Southland Mission Pile Pill Porches Prurient Pusha T River Whyless Roky Erickson Sannhet Sarah Louise Secret Boyfriend Sheer Mag Shitty Boots Silent Lunch SkyBlew SMLH Solar Halos Some Army Soon Steve Gunn & The Black Twig Pickers Tashi Dorji The Vibekillers thefacesblur Tombs TV on the Radio Tycho TZYVYX Wahyas Warehouse Wildhoney Wizard Rifle Wovenhand WYMYNS PRYSYN X Yandrew Zack Mexico Zeena Parkins Zs