Heading out on the starting leg of their “Masters of Horror” tour, the costumed metal acts Mudvayne and Sevendust, who have been ravaging clubs across the Midwest, stopped off in Mt. Clemens at the Emerald Theatre Sunday. “We’re really happy to be out here finally doing a tour with Sevendust, not to mention that 75 percent of the dates are sold out,” Mudvayne drummer Matt McDonough said.

Music Reviews
Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray performs at the Emerald Theatre Sunday. (TREVOR CAMPBELL/Daily)

High production values, numerous lighting rigs and an intricately decorated stage gave the tour a unique touch. “We’ve packed an arena-sized show into a more intimate setting,” McDonough said.

Both 10 Years and Bobaflex came off as filler in their roles as openers for the two main acts, and tended to drone on throughout their set. Repetitive chord progressions, mundane drum fills and bland vocals killed both bands’ stage tenacity.

Sevendust, a matured and well seasoned hard-rock group that is no stranger to touring, followed the two openers. The “Masters of Horror” tour was certainly going to be a test for the group, who recently had to replace one of their guitarists. Since bringing in rock veteran Sonny Mayo (formerly from Snot) the band has recorded a new album and is now on the road in an attempt to prove that their fire is burning just as ferociously as ever.

A commanding frontman, vocalist Lajon Witherspoon gives arguably one of the most fervent and devoted performances in hard rock. Although masked drummer Morgan Rose sits behind his towering drum kit, he still manages to draw the concertgoers’ attention providing viciously tempered back-up vocals to the quintet’s already maniacal stage presence. Songs such as “Denial and Black” further illuminated the band’s resounding performance.

Headliners Mudvayne came on to the stage with an explosively loud entrance. Singer Chad Gray rushed to the mic costumed in a gorilla suit and a face doused in fake blood, spotlights and strobes flashed the stage with downpours of bright light, making for what might be the most audacious stage backdrop ever to grace the Emerald Theatre.

Bassist Ryan Martinie galloped across the stage while still putting on an audibly impressive performance. He leapt across the stage wearing the bright-red cape he donned halfway through the set, and managed to pull off one of the more skillful slap-bass escapades in metal.

Packing in songs from their entire collection, the band showed its dynamic range and ever-evolving style; newer songs like “Happy?” show the group’s strength as a hard-rock band, whereas tracks such as closer “Dig” represent the band’s earlier, more experimental metal side.

Having a visually impressive, arena-sized light show filling a 1,500 capacity venue was a novel idea and it brought a unique vibe to an already enthralling rock show.

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