Between 2019's br br deng meme, last year's 20th anniversary of L.D. 50, their recent reunion announcement and an overall cultural resurgence of Y2K aesthetics, Mudvayne have returned to the forefront of the metal conversation. Across the five albums they released throughout the 2000s, the Peoria, Illinois, quartet — vocalist Chad Gray, guitarist Greg Tribbett, bassist Ryan Martinie and drummer Matthew McDonough — wriggled between nu-metal, alt-metal, prog and hard rock in a way that remains completely unrivaled to this day. No one else has or ever will sound quite like them, and as the group gear up to play a few North American festivals later this fall, now is the perfect time to revisit their most essential tracks. These are our picks for the 10 best Mudvayne songs.
The first things you hear on Mudvayne's 2008 opus, The New Game, are a needly guitar lick and proggy bassline that sound like the music for an emergency news broadcast. The band's fourth LP veered further into hard rock as vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tibbett focused on their Southern rock-influenced groove-metal band Hellyeah, but the spiraling string-work on "Fish Out of Water" is Mudvayne zaniness to a tee.
After the runaway success of their 2000 debut, L.D. 50, Mudvayne pulled a surprising move by doubling down on their kookiest tendencies. The core of "Mercy, Severity" is a total knockout metal crossover, but the band didn't let their budding commercial sensibilities come at the expense of their forward-thinking songwriting on The End of All Things to Come. The jazzy bridge toward the end of this track raises eyebrows (in a good way), and there's a surprisingly technical riff in the middle that offers a transfixing reprieve from the standard heavy power chords.
By the second full song on L.D. 50, Mudvayne made it clear that they weren't fucking around. "Internal Primates Forever" is a totally brutal track that features convulsive riffs, pounding breakdowns and a manic, huff-and-puff delivery from Gray that's reminiscent of early Jonathan Davis. Meanwhile, bassist Ryan Martinie is dropping savage bass-bombs in between Primus-indebted funky plucks, and somehow the track never ends up caving in on itself.
"Scream With Me" was the only single from their most recent album, 2009's Mudvayne, and its proof positive of how much the band still had in the tank when they entered their 11-year hiatus. The track begins with Martinie's sleek bassline and Gray's cool, moody vocals, and then it suddenly explodes into a total slapper-of-a-chorus that's made possible by Gray's raspy belt. By the second time around, the band are almost certainly getting their titular wish.
The lead single from The End of All Things to Come isn't representative of just how experimental the band got on their second LP, but it's still one of their most undeniable bangers. Matthew McDonough's thunderous drums sound like they could bring down an amphitheater, while Greg Tribbet's shiny guitar leads and Gray's occasionally svelte vocals could be described as beautiful at multiple points throughout this song.
The band's 2005 album, Lost and Found, is their most commercially successful, but don't let that turn you off. After proving themselves more than capable of flipping nu-metal on its head and giving it a proggy makeover, Mudvayne started bringing massive sing-along hooks into the fold, and "Forget to Remember" is one of their strongest. All of their odd-ball rhythmic elements are still intact, but Gray really goes for it with a skyscraping hook. It's one of their most straightforward songs, and also one of their most compelling.
This L.D. 50 is a great example of just how singular Mudvayne were from the jump. Gray shows off his impressive vocal range by swerving between husky rapping, ferocious growls, creepy muttering and tuneful crooning — and it somehow doesn't sound completely unlistenable. Most of the track is built around savory nu-metal grooves, but there's also a gurgling breakdown in the middle and an ending that concludes with ringing feedback while Gray recites a poem about roiling hate and foul nectar.
Having made it to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, "Happy?" is Mudvayne's highest-charting song, and also one of their most iconic. Like some of the other standouts on Lost and Found, this one prominently features Chad Gray's clean singing during the verses, making it more akin to Papa Roach or Chevelle than Slipknot or Tool. However, Gray's gritty refrain and Martinie's punctuated slap-bass riff give the otherwise radio-friendly track a touch of weirdness that could only come from Mudvayne.
Mudvayne have written their fair share of anthems, but "Determined" is the biggest, most scream-inducing track in their playbook. The Lost and Found opener blends the melodic chops of their later years with a guns-blazing energy that rivals any one of their most fired-up recordings. It's as catchy as it is unruly, with a rambunctious hook that brings to mind dusty mosh pits and speeding dragsters.
This is the one. The lead single from L.D. 50 is the song that launched Mudvayne's career, and to this day it remains the best entry point into their catalog. Between Chad Gray's spitfire rapping, his hellish screams, the furious breakdown, the weird rhythms and Martinie's iconic br br deng bassline, "Dig" is quintessential Mudvayne.