Release Date: Jan 11, 2011
Record label: Domino / Rekords Rekords
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
When the debut by Queens of the Stone Age sneaked out in 1998, it seemed like a lark: Josh Homme and Alfredo Hernandez from Kyuss, tired of frying sludge metal in the desert sun, were now subjecting reborn acid rock to mechanical repetition. Soon, QOTSA would become a real band, with real hits. But they'd never again groove like this, with gurgling Teutonic drones swallowing Stooges chords and intercepted radio cross talk.
Josh Homme is, pretty self-evidently, an ambitious guy, and not exactly what you’d call humble either. At the same time, he’s always seemed reasonably grounded, and even when he was elevated to actual rock star status – this would be a few months after the second Queens Of The Stone Age album dropped – didn’t seem to be specifically altered by it, in respect of his demeanour. That is to say, getting shitfaced on drugs and nailing comedy punk rockers’ uncomfortably younger girlfriends seems pretty consistent with Homme’s inherent persona.
It was fitting that the final release from Kyuss featured a cover of Black Sabbath's "Into the Void", because throughout their seven-year existence, the Palm Desert quartet essentially existed in one-- the band's devastating stoner-rock earned the respect of various celebrity admirers (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden among them) but they never successfully sold it to the masses. That Sabbath cover appeared on a post-break-up 1996 split EP, the flipside of which featured three songs by a new project formed by ex-Kyuss members Josh Homme and Alfredo Hernandez. True to the project's feminizing name, Queens of the Stone Age, the new material boasted a more melodic, loose-limbed variation on Kyuss' earthquaking crunch.
Reviewing the re-release of an album can be one of the more trickier reviews to do. Do you judge the album on the improvement in audio quality, a slickening of sound due to crafty remastering? Do you judge it on the original material, looking at the tracks in a retrospective way or through new eyes? Or do you rate it on the inclusion of any previously unreleased songs or demos that may add a different flavor to the record? Luckily, in the case of Queens of the Stone Age‘s re-release of their 1998 debut album Queens of the Stone Age, it was easy to explore it from all three of those angles. The actual remastering of QOTSA’s self-titled was done with a very slight hand.
Queens of the Stone Age are nothing if not consistent—the rerelease of their first album clearly proves that. From the beginning, Josh Homme had a solid, well defined sound: heavy riff based rock played with mechanical precision and high smooth vocals. Though Homme and pals derived from the desert stoner rock band Kyuss, QOTSA clearly improve that band’s blueprint by toning down (somewhat) the macho-metal influence, evident at the very least in the proclamation of being Queens.
A debut that crackles with energy, simply electrifying at its best. Greg Moffitt 2011 Originally released in September 1998 on Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s Loosegroove label, the debut album from California’s Queens of the Stone Age offered a devil-may-care mash-up of styles which felt like a breath of fresh air. The 90s had been dominated first by grunge and then by nu-metal, both of which wallowed in the pain and isolation of some never-ending teenage meltdown.