When Mudvayne burst upon the music scene in late 2000, they (like fellow head-bangers Slipknot) appeared to be nu-metal versions of Kiss, as the band dressed in elaborate costumes and make-up when performing. They arrived at the MTV Video Music Awards dressed in tuxedos which were covered in blood-stains. But, as the band released their second album, "The End of All Things to Come", they began to take a more mature approach to their careers and chose to promote their music over theatrics. The result of this thinking can be seen in their DVD release, All Access to All Things.
The All Access to All Things is an odd hybrid of concert film and tour documentary. The concert, which was captured on the 2003 Summer Sanitarium Tour, offers ten songs which were taped in Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. The songs included are: "Internal Primates Forever", "-1", "Silenced", "Death Blooms", "Mercy, Severity", "Cradle", "Nothing to Gein", "World So Cold", "Not Falling", and "Dig". All totaled, the concert footage lasts about 50 minutes. In short, the concert footage isn't very good. On their CDs, Mudvayne's sound is a cacophony of controlled rage. Despite the fact that the group, which features Chad (vocals), Greg (guitar), Matthew (drums), and Ryan (bass), rocks very hard, their songs have a very clean and calculated sound. This approach goes out the window in their live shows and the songs have a very muddy, distorted, and dissonant quality. (This is also related to the audio, see below.) Along with the disappointing sound, the band's performance is pretty lackluster as well. The stage is bare, save for the group's triangle logo, and their motions are the same in each song. Also, they must have opened the show, because most of the seats are empty and that's just depressing.
The viewer can also choose to view what I'm calling the "tour documentary" feature (the main menu refers to it simply as the "movie"). This 96-minute feature offers the 10 concert performances along with 38 short behind-the-scenes vignettes which offers interviews with the band, the tour crew, and footage of the band doing things away from the stage, such as mingling with fans or traveling on their tour bus. This feature is intriguing as it shows that Mudvayne are quite human underneath their costumes and heavy metal posturing, but it's not all that interesting. There are some funny moments here, but this will appeal only to die-hard Mudvayne fans.
The concert footage was clearly shot on high-end (digital?) video using eight cameras. The footage has been letterboxed at 1.85:1, but the transfer is not anamorphic. This footage is very sharp and clear, showing no grain or defects on the image. The picture is slightly blurry at times and there is some video noise, but this is usually due to a sudden camera movement. The colors look very good and there is no oversaturation. The behind-the-scenes footage was shot with a decidedly lower quality video camera, and this footage shows numerous incidents of "white out", blur, and video noise. This footage is all presented full-frame.
The concert footage and documentary entries can be viewed with either a Dolby Digital 5.1 track or a PCM stereo track. I'm saddened to report that the PCM track wins hands down. The 5.1 track sounds very tinny and weak. The recording level is quite low and the bass response is non-existent. The PCM track has a much more realistic and robust sound, as it offers some mild bass and gives the music much more texture.
The All Access to All Things DVD contains the music video for Mudvayne's single "World So Cold". The video is letterboxed at 1.85:1, but is not enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The video has a 2-channel stereo track, but the clarity and clean sound comes across much better than the concert footage. There is also a 3-minute behind-the-scenes featurette which documents the making of the video. Finally, we have "Mudcam", a 3-minute reel of the band taping each other.
Mudvayne fans who caught the band on tour lasts summer may enjoy the All Access to All Things DVD as a way to capture those memories, but the questionable audio and down-beat nature of the show probably won't earn the band any new followers.