Lost and Found (Epic)

Members of Mudvayne are fucking determined to outlast the nü-metal wave they rode in on. In the wake of Slipknot, the 'Vayne popped in 2000, covered in full-body paint, riffing like they were rapid-firing heavy artillery. The 2002 disc The End of All Things to Come saw them wiping off the makeup, dropping their Gwar-worthy stage names, and easing up for a ponderous near-ballad. Mudvayne's strength is lean 'n' mean jams, but the optimistically titled Lost and Found finds the conflicted group drifting further astray.

A party song disguised as a metal ripper, album opener "F'D" (that's short for "Fucking Determined") is emblematic of an identity crisis. The band's schizophrenic third album bloats into aggressive prog rock. Singer Chad Gray's lackadaisical self-loathing and bassist Ryan Martinie's creeping bass lines make "Happy" sound like a Tool B-side. And all the grrrrunting in the world can't enliven a pointlessly epic track like album closer "Choices." For a band that's a playing machine, it's no way to go out.

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