I’m not really sure what’s going on here, but the latest effort from Audiotopsy seems to be a rather short EP effort that I didn’t find to be any bit in the least promising. This doesn’t sound like a good direction for the band, as it seems that they may have decided to tone back the progressive moments that made Mudvayne‘s music so memorable. At least, that’s what this EP seems to showcase. “Hologram” seems to hit pretty hard, but I can’t help the fact that I’d rather Chad Gray on this one and he’d feel more at home here. The production also isn’t quite up to par with what I’d expect, which isn’t a very good sign for this post-Mudvayne project. I really hate to say this ladies and gents, but with the unfortunate passing of Vinnie Paul; there now seems to be the possibility of an actual Mudvayne reunion, which would hopefully see these compositions a bit more refined. I definitely felt that Audiotopsy’s debut was quite strong, but this one just seems like a step in the wrong direction to me. “Panic On The Airwaves” isn’t making things any better for me, regardless of the fact that the vocal nodes within are quite accessible and radio-friendly. There are some interesting sections to be had on the piece, but unfortunately I have to deal with acoustics and what seems to be a radio-friendly twang before I can get to the more interesting portions of the cut. However, it is the most structurally refined piece thus far. “Fade Away” left me completely confused, particularly due to that annoying effect in the chorus; while “Hurt Down” seems to mix pop rock with a hint of a scream, not unlike Mudvayne’s The New Game although not quite as clean. “What Am I?” seems to follow the same path as “Hologram” but I still prefer the former. “If Only” doesn’t even come off that memorable either, just because there’s so much simplicity and far less structure.
If you want me to be brutally honest, most of The Real Now feels like a demo. It almost seems as if Audiotopsy decided to scrap the promising sound that they had on the first album in favor of something stripped down and accessible. Not that they weren’t accessible before, but the IQ of this record is far lower than that of the last. There were some indeed genius moments to be had with Natural Causes but I’m just not hearing them on The Real Now. If you’re looking for the angst of earlier Mudvayne mixed in with more radio-friendly moments, then you may find something here. But there’s no “Internal Primates Forever” or “Severed” to be found here. Not even a “Pharmecopia.” It honestly sounds like a slightly harsher version of The New Game, and I personally enjoyed The New Game because Chad hit all the right notes on that disc. Mudvayne were studying pop music around that time, which flowed directly into the album. However, this disc seems to muddily throw choruses in far too quick and not even give the listener time to absorb most of the offerings provided. There are just eight short tracks, which clock in at just under thirty minutes. That’s normal length for most classic death metal albums, which would actually be held in higher regards than this. The Real Now is a real insult to my intelligence. These guys are far better than this. The self-titled Mudvayne album had some real progressive meat to it, and I was happy to see at least some of that featured on Audiotopsy’s debut. Here, they’ve simply thrown most of that in the garbage. Apparently, people do not like long, introspective cuts that make them think these days and Audiotopsy are reflecting that in their music. So yes, The Real Now seems a fitting title in that respect. Though I enjoyed the first Audiotopsy recording to an extent; this just didn’t do anything for me. If there’s one track that I’d recommend here, it would be “Hologram” and parts of “Panic On The Airwaves.” Good concept, but just a bit too radio-friendly. I thought I was getting some Nickelback or Matchbox Twenty influence with that one. So help me, they’re bent and I don’t think that they’re going to be able to put this act back together.
(8 Tracks, 29:00)