Peoria’s thundering modern-metal outfit Mudvayne has left the garish face makeup behind, as well as criticism that the group is little more than a novelty act, or — worse yet — a Slipknot ripoff.
The quartet’s recently released second Epic album (and fourth overall) “Lost and Found” is a significant musical step forward for the band, and at the sold-out Fonda on Tuesday the band delivered a stirring hour-plus set showcasing the new songs as well as a few older favorites.
Opening with the crushing “Determined,” the lead track from the new album (which recently debuted at a lofty No. 2 on the SoundScan sales chart), Mudvayne pulverized the swirling mosh pit with a relentless sledgehammer style that mixed metal, industrial and thrash into a frenetic sound.
Musicianship during the 13-song set was at a far higher level than is heard from most acts in the modern metal world. Particularly notable was the fabulous rhythm section of knockout bassist Ryan Martinie and brutal drummer Matt McDonough. “Nothing to Gein,” from the 2000 album “L.D. 50,” was one of many highlights propelled by the duo’s well-matched efforts.
Vocalist Chad Gray has also upped his game with a dynamic sound that reached here from skull-rattling bellows during the angry “IMN” to delicate and melodic passages, as on the current rock radio hit “Happy?”
Second-billed Life of Agony wasn’t nearly as successful this night; the reformed Brooklyn goth-flavored metal quartet endured constant disparaging audience comments, ultimately driving singer Keith Caputo to jump into the security pit and physically challenge some aud members.
The band’s comeback album “Broken Valley” (Epic) is a satisfying mix of heavy grooves and riffs, similar in places to Stone Temple Pilots, and is highlighted by the infectious first single “Love to Let You Down,” one of the catchiest singles to emerge from the metal world in recent memory. However, the band was out of its element here opening for Mudvayne.