MUDVAYNE albums ranked, from worst to best | Revolver

MUDVAYNE albums ranked, from worst to best

A critical look at the nu-metal mutants' formidable discography
mudvayne kevin wilson 2022 dsc_6015-2.jpg, Kevin Wilson
photograph by Kevin Wilson

Even if they hadn't finally reunited in 2021 after a decade-plus hiatus, Mudvayne left their mark. Classic songs. Iconic music videos. Surreal award wins (a 2001 VMA presented to the band by Gwen Stefani, Moby and Eve). An internet-ruling meme ("brbr DENG").

Mudvayne hit the world stage in creepy clown makeup bearing bizarre pseudonyms: Kud, Gurrg, Ryknow and sPaG. Today, fans know and love them as Chad Gray, Greg Tribbett, Ryan Martinie and Matt McDonough. The quartet will kick off The Psychotherapy Sessions — their first headlining tour in 14-plus years — on July 20th. They've also been working on new music, which would be their first material in over a decade. So, what better time to look back at the nu-metal mutants' five-album discography?

Check out our ranking, from worst to best, below.

5. Mudvayne

Released less than a year after 2008's The New Game, Mudvayne's last album — so far, at least — was recorded at the same time as its predecessor, and leans more into the band's heavier, mathier side. Songs like opener "Beautiful and Strange" and the Slipknot-ian "I Can't Wait" hit hard, while the single "Scream With Me" reflects Mudvayne's radio-rock inclinations. But the divergent pieces don't always fit together so well into a cohesive full-length, making the band's "white album" their messiest, murkiest and least essential offering.

4. The New Game

By the time Mudvayne got to working on their fourth album, The New Game, Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett were already splitting their time with the metal supergroup HELLYEAH, also featuring Pantera icon Vinnie Paul. Perhaps as a result, the LP feels less focused than previous releases, as the group veered further into post-"Happy?" hard-rock territory. Fortunately, there's still plenty of old-school proggy zaniness to be found — just blast "Hate in Me" and, particularly, "Fish Out of Water."

3. The End of All Things to Come

Mudvayne did what almost no successful band ever does: get weirder on the follow-up to a breakthrough debut. Dropping the mutant clown makeup, Kud, sPaG, Ryknow and Gurrg got extraterrestrial makeovers for their "black album," a fitting visual tweak for a record that feels out of this world. Death metal, thrash, prog, jazz fusion, classic rock and more mesh and grind across its head-spinning 52-minute runtime. At the eye of the storm, anthemic centerpiece "World So Cold" forebodes catchier, more accessible sounds to come.

2. Lost and Found

Mudvayne's most commercially successful album, 2005's Lost and Found will be forever remembered for its smash single "Happy?," a chart-topping sing-along that proved the group had legit songwriting chops to match their "brbr DENG" instrumental chops. There are plenty of other great moments, however, as the LP represents not so much a rejection of the band's math-metal roots as it does a more accessible redirection of those heady impulses. There's still ample heaviness ("Determined," "Just") and some prog, too: notably, Mudvayne's longest song to date, the eight-minute opus "Choices."

1. L.D. 50

The album title is shorthand for "Lethal Dosage 50," a term representing the level of toxicity needed in a drug to kill 50 percent of a test population — and kill L.D. 50 does.

Lazily pegged as "Slipknot Jr.," Mudvayne displayed progressive ambition and instrumental prowess on their 2000 debut that the 'Knot had yet to approach. Odd time signatures and knotty riffage live up to the "math metal" descriptor that the band chose (somewhat tongue in cheek) for themselves, while lyrical themes pull from freewheeling source material including Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey ("Monolith") and Terrence McKenna's "stoned ape theory" ("Internal Primates Forever") to math's golden ratio ("Golden Ratio") and the lore of serial killer Ed Gein ("Nothing to Gein").

"We saw the album as our token little drug," Matt McDonough said of L.D. 50 in 2000. "People can ingest it, take it in and grow from it. We adhered ourselves to the idea that our music and the things we as individuals seek to experience ... and hopefully, positively, grow from ... could potentially be destructive. There are some elements in what we do, which could be thought of as dangerous, but you've got to be willing to take some risks and face your fears."

Mudvayne did just that making L.D. 50, and listeners are still reaping the rewards.