Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Queens Of The Stone Age
Lullabies To Paralyze

The masters of modern metal are back at it, even after
such an impossible act to follow like the heavily-touted
'Songs For The Deaf' wherein the old drummer from one of
the last 2 decades' most pivotal and popular bands, laid
the rhythm tracks for the album in its entirety and toured
with them. Impossible to follow? Debatable.

In a departure from riding on the coat tails of Dave Grohl
(the afforementioned drummer and now lead brain of
the Foo Fighters), Josh Homme of QOTSA has come into
his own realm as a songwriter and musical creator in this
LP. In order to do so, he had to fire the old bassist, let Dave
go back to being Foo-ed, and head out on his own path. The
result is a little bit puzzling at times as it seems that Mr. Homme
is stuck in a sort of 'high-school-metal-experimental-garage-band'
writing zone with lengthy tracks like 'Someone's In The Wolf'
and 'The Blood is Love'. But the truth is, most of it still rocks

With a penchant for a new faster, catchier edge,
songs like 'In My Head' and 'Everybody Knows That You're Insane'
display the instumental talent (lots of rhythmic tricks, stops,
starts, and things to keep you guessing) of the band and keep
you humming the melody hours after you've heard it. These
songs and 'Little Sister' (which pales in comparison to a lot
of other songs from this album) are showing a maturity of Mr. Homme
who seems to stepping away from the arena of 'kill-em-all' metal
and into a more reflective, intelligent songwriting style.

But fear not ye metalheads because Homme definitely
does not depart from the realms of his ever-haunting but captivating
vocal melodies and insanely cacaphonic, yet masterfully orchestrated,
ear-splitting guitar riffs. There's lots of that good stuff to go round,
and not really being a metal fan, myself, I can really appreciate
this album's complexity. The only area which could still use some
development is Homme's lyrics which seem to be a little too
caught up in 'the girl that went wrong and screwed me over'
scenario, but hey, I don't know his life. And no matter how
criticized his lyrics may be, they are still easy to relate to -
anyone who's ever struggled with letting go and moving on
from a failed relationship will appreciate the climactic juxtaposition in
'Tangled Up In Plaid': I could keep you all for myself / I know You gotta
be free / So free yourself.

So do free yourself, in fact, and your ears to a new age - The Queens
of the Stone Age. Well done, chaps. 9/10.

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