Intense, thrashy metal is usually not associated with the color white. Thus, I was confused when I noticed the entirely blank art of Mudvayne's newly-released self-titled album Mudvayne. Then I noticed the attached blacklight. Every piece of art, from the cover to the lyrics to the inset tray art, is only visible while shining the blacklight on it. This is undeniably awesome.
The immense coolness of the art sets high standards for the music. The album doesn't quite match the exceeding uniqueness of its art, but it is a very solid effort. Mudvayne is known for fast, thrashy metal, and they don't mix up the formula much here. They do, however, mix up the rhythms and ideas enough that the listener can discern different tracks throughout the course of the album. They dodged a bullet that many lesser bands can't with their rhythmic and melodic variation. The tunes are solid and mostly avoid clichés. They do indulge in some guitar soloing that's a bit over the top (what Strongbad of Homestar Runner would mock as "the meedly meedlies"), but on the whole they offer solid songwriting and execution.
The highlights here are the complicated rhythms of "I Can't Wait," the memorable melodic hook of "Scream with Me," and the riffs of "Closer." Mudvayne won't convert non-metalheads to metal (which is the true sign of an amazing metal album), but it will certainly give those already in the know something to chew on. And, if all else fails, playing with the blacklight is almost worth the price of admission.