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Mudvayne 

The End of All Things to Come (Epic)

For Mudvayne to boast that it invented the term "math metal," as the band does in the press notes to its new disc, is almost as laughable as P. Diddy declaring that he's the father of the remix. Sorry, dudes, but both the designation and the scene existed years before you did -- although coming late to the party isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Far from it, in fact. Learning from the mistakes made by its technically minded precursors in outfits like the Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah, Mudvayne is one of the few bands of its ilk that understands the value of grounding its virtuosity in at least semidiscernible song structures.

This balance between the progressive and the palatable is struck most effectively on the brutal, breathless "Skrying," on which the band doesn't play its instruments so much as work them over, like a boxer on a speedbag. Also impressively fierce is the caustic and catchy "Shadow of a Man" and the positively dizzying title track, which suggests what Pantera might sound like if they were into calculus as much as cannabis. Pretentiousness aside, it all adds up to a pretty barbarous experience.

More by Jason Bracelin

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