Puddle Of Mudd - Stuck (1994) (9,5/10)
Genre: Modern Metal
Playing time: 25:40
Band homepage: Puddle Of Mudd
You Don't Know
Drift & Die
Poke Out My Eyes
PUDDLE OF MUDD might not be what one can call a Alternative, Modern or Nu Metal band. I would describe their sound as Neo-Grunge after a.ll but this band introduced me to harder modern rock music more than one decade ago. I fell in love with the band's „Come Clean� record back in 2002 and I still adore the band despite all the hard times they have gone and are still going through. The story of this band from Kansas City, Missouri is in fact a very interesting one. They have been quite underestimated for a long time and suddenly got their big commercial brekathrough. Attentions got very high then and the band became somewhat overhyped. When the commercial success faded, they got underrated again and continued their career in an interesting way. These days, the band is though running low but not all hope is gone.
Let's take a look on the very first chapter of the band. The band got together in autumn 1992 and their band name was inspired by the Missouri River flood in 1993, which inundated the band's practice space and tarnsformed it into a big puddle of mud. During that same year, the band won a local battle olf the bands competition and got the opportunity to record their first seven tracks only one year after the band's foundation. The album was ultimately put out in spring 1994 and entitled „Stuck� which is sometimes listed as an EP but sometimes as an album, too.
Long out of print and having become a forgotten rarity, this release is in fact my second favourite PUDDLE OF MUDD album despite its modest production and short length. The band plays down to earth, slightly depressive, hauntingly agressive and mostly slow Grunge of the best kind. Wesley Reid Scantlin's vocals are filled with despair, hate, pain and passion. He reminds of the just deceased Kurt Cobain of NIRVANA fame but he turns out to be even more diverisfied. You immeditaley realize that this man has an incredible talent and gift. Let's not forget that the frontman also plays guitar and does a well done effort on this instrument here as well. His vocal performance is supported by guitarist Jimmy Allen who pulls off quite a lot slow, melancholic and highly emotional riffs. This man has also loads of talent. Bassist Sean Sammon definitely has his shining moments on the record as well. The fitting drumming by Kenny Burkitt varies from calmer moments to true powerhouse passages.
These four gifted musicians put together seven songs, including local radio singles "You Don't Know" and a song any American Rock fan should know: "Drift And Die". The latter track has been rerecorded seven years later but the laid back original version that focusses on longing vocals, chilling acoustic guitars and an explosive ending is as good as its famous reprise. The closing "Suicide" is the other ballad on here and hits the same vein. In fact, this song is just as good as "Drift And Die" but nobody knows this track. Scantlin's vocals, the limited instrumental work and the haunting lyrics keep on sending shivers down my spine.
The other tracks are five well executed Grunge pieces that any fan of bands such as ALICE IN CHAINS, NIRVANA or PEARL JAM should know. There is no excuse and if you don't know these songs yet, go take a look on the internet and find them. My favourite song on here is definitely "Poke Out My Eyes." It starts with a menacing and catchy melody and after a while hell breaks loose. A powerhouse drumming, a wildly pumping bass guitar, heavy riffs and very angry vocals kick in and take you on a highly emotional ride. From time to time, the pace slows down for a few weird vocal effects or a completely insane and quite dirty guitar solo but this song takes no prisoners and goes straight to your ears, heart and legs as well. This is without a doubt one of the best Grunge songs I have ever listened to.
Before you judge the band as being commercial or irrelevant, just be smart and check out this incredible debut record that deserves far more attention. I don't know if PUDDLE OF MUDD can or still want to carry on but I'm definitely hoping for a rerelease of this jewel and also of the second release "Abrasive". Let's say two thumbs up for this energizing and authentic first strike.
(Online July 9, 2013)
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