Formed out of the ashes of stoner rock demigods KYUSS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE has been branded with the "stoner" tag themselves over the course of their two previous albums, even though the band's work features far more diversity and atmosphere than the usual smoked-out sludge that most stoner rock ends up being. The truth is that QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE is one of the most original heavy rock bands to emerge in the last half decade, and not only is Songs For The Deaf a masterful monument to their daring and creativity, it's also one of the finest rock albums of the year.The QUEENS — a loose collective led by singer/guitarist Josh Homme and bassist Nick Oliveri, with occasional vocals from ex-SCREAMING TREES frontman Mark Lanegan — cannot be labeled metal, punk, stoner rock, or psychedelia. Instead, their sound – a dense, heavy, yet shimmering stew of thick guitars, subdued vocals (except for Oliveri's hardcore screaming) and boogie-rock rhythms – incorporates all those styles with flair and dexterity. On Songs For The Deaf, the band is improved even more by the dazzling drumming of Dave Grohl, making his return to the kit for the first time since recording the first FOO FIGHTERS album and showing why he is one of the most underrrated skinsmen in rock. The album kicks off with a bizarre intro that carries over into several spoken interludes scattered throughout the album, all of which take jabs at the current state of commercial radio. Oddball upon first listen, the snippets provide a framework for the record without being overly conceptual. The first real song is "Millionaire", a blazing, all-out blast of punk metal that's one of the heaviest tunes the QUEENS have ever recorded. "No One Knows" follows, its shuffling rhythm and loping riff melding seamlessly with Homme's world-weary vocals. Gem after gem follows, from the harsh "Song For The Dead" to the surreal "Sky Is Falling" to "Just Another Love Song", Sixties psychelic rock filtered through THE CURE. Despite their many flourishes, however, the QUEENS consistently rock out with a reckless abandon that's missing from much of today's corporate rock "product." The album may be titled Songs For The Deaf (and there's surely an obscure in-joke in there somewhere), but the bottom line is that you'd have to really be hard of hearing to not appreciate the uniqueness of this band. Cult favorites since their formation, the QUEENS finally deserve to become part of rock royalty.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).