I’ll admit that I haven’t paid much attention to Staind over the last few years. After the release of 14 Shades Of Gray, I found the band heading in an uncertain direction. No longer sure of their voice or where their music was heading, I was disappointed and bored, and thus moved on to other bands. After hearing their latest single, “Eyes Wide Open,” I decided to give the band another chance and picked up a copy of their self-titled release. It was one of the best musical decisions I have made in recent years. Staind have found their current voice and the end result is spectacular.
Still fused fully in the dark side of rock, the recent change for Staind is the bands’ desire to unleash their anger in the music. Whereas past albums were dark and depressing, wondering how to survive the future, their latest disc is filled with fight. Songs like “Wannabe” and “Now” are anthems to haters and doubters that they’d better back off. Staind isn’t going to stand around and be your punching bag. They even take the time to call out those that would download their music for free (i.e. steal it) and then trash it online.
Blending grunge and hardcore rock, Staind’s latest record takes their enjoyable sound to a level not previously achieved. The crisp guitar solos by Mike Mushok obliterate any of his previous work and the structure of each of song is impeccable. “The Bottom” has a striking melody that sounds like a cross between Nine Inch Nails industrial rock and a Poison Power Ballad. It is a beautiful melody punctuated by Lewis’ amazing voice. “Now” is a solid, hard rocking smack in the face complete with finger shredding guitar work worthy of a Mastodon comparison. “Wannabe” is a war cry for the haters to go away and find somewhere else to waste their time. Hearing Staind call out the freeloaders was the highlight of the record.
Staind finds the band pulling no punches, and musically, it finds the band meshing the likes of which they haven’t since the late 90s. This is Staind at the top of their game and it’s a welcome thing of beauty. Lead singer Aaron Lewis’ voice is as powerful as ever. His singing ability has never failed to amaze me and even more so on Staind. Mike Mushok is firing on all cylinders, exploding through blistering guitar solos, and keeping the melodies in perfect harmony with the rest of the music. The rhythm section of Johnny April and Jon Wysocki (no longer a member of the band) round out the music nicely.
Less is more was a theory that the band obviously subscribed to, and it paid huge dividends. While Staind only comes with 10 tracks, each of these masterfully crafted beauties are works of art worthy of cherishing for several years to come. Had I given this record a chance sooner than 2012, it’s possible that it may have cracked my top 10 for 2011. Well, there’s always the top ten for the decade.
Rating: Out of 10
- Eyes Wide Open
- Not Again
- Throw It All Away
- Take A Breath
- The Bottom
- Paper Wings
- Something To Remind You
Aaron Lewis – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Mike Mushok – Lead Guitar
Johnny April – Bass
Jon Wysocki – Drums
NITROGODS, the German rock and roll band featuring guitarist Henny Wolter (THUNDERHEAD, PRIMAL FEAR, SINNER), drummer Klaus Sperling (FREEDOM CALL, PRIMAL FEAR) and bassist/vocalist Claus “Oimel” Larcher, released their self-titled debut last month.
NITROGODS have just released a video for their song “Zombietrain”. Check it out here!
NITROGODSfeatures guest appearances by NAZARETH singer Dan McCafferty and ex-MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke in the songs “Whiskey Wonderland“ and “Wasted In Berlin“.
The track listing for the CD is as follows:
01. Black Car Driving Man
02. Demolition Inc.
03. At Least I’m Drunk
05. Whiskey Wonderland (feat. Dan McCafferty)
06. Licence To Play Loud
07. Lipsynch Stars
08. The Devil Dealt The Deck
09. Rifle Down
11. Wasted In Berlin (feat. Fast Eddie Clarke)
No more endless studio fakes, sound samples, artificial drum overdubs and computer-controlled corrections of suboptimal lead vocals. The time has come to return to the true values of rock music, namely honesty, solid craftsmanship and real lifeblood. To cut a long story short: the time has come for NITROGODS! The motto of this spectacular new rock trio: three men, three corners, and down-to-earth no-bullshit rock’n'roll!
The band may still be unfamiliar to the public at large, but the three members are renowned musicians with illustrious histories to look back on. Guitarist Henny Wolter founded THUNDERHEAD in 1988, played with PRIMAL FEAR and SINNER for number of years and was part of the Rock Meets Classic touring band. Drummer KlausSperling (FREEDOM CALL) was also with PRIMAL FEAR for a long time. And at the epicenter of the NITROGODS soundquake is a heavyweight who is impressive in every respect: Claus “Oimel” Larcher, a bear of a musician whose bass performance stands for sheer power and whose voice unmistakably reflects countless liters of beer and whiskey.
“I wanted to return to playing the music that I love,” says Henny Wolter, “and that only works if you play it with your best friends.”
Fast Eddie Clarke comments on his collaboration with the NITROGODS: “I first met Claus from the NITROGODS in 2005 when I did a benefit gig for the victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. So I was happy to say yes when asked to do a solo on their new album on the track ‘Wasted In Berlin’. I have to say the tracks they sent me sounded great. The band has great spirit and they all play extremely well together. So if you like fast and furious rock, you should give this a listen. I can assure you you will not be dissapointed…”
Dan McCafferty on NITROGODS: “I have just had the pleasure to record a song with a new band called NITROGODS. Henny and I met and became good friends on the Rock Meets Classic tour 2010. Having heard other material for the album, I think it will be a fine one. Hope you enjoy my contribution on ‘Whiskey Wonderland’. I wish the GODS the best of luck. Welcome to the rock ‘n’ roll world!”
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