Release Date: Sep 13, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Post-Grunge, NÃ¼ Metal
The seventh album from this troupe of Massachusetts alt-metalers relies on a familiar formula, alternating between petulant ballads and noisily crunching cacophony. The constant is Aaron Lewis’s blindly swatting rage at whatever it is that pits the world and its women against him. "Eyes Wide Open" rages against a lover’s unspecified "self-serving plan" atop theatrical guitar shredding, while the power-balladry of "Failing" echoes their 2001 hit "It's Been Awhile" with broad guitar bombast and Lewis's heartily sung heartbreak refrain.
Considering their increasingly mellow and melodic recent releases, Staind’s seventh album is a shockingly crushing tour de force. The Springfield, Massachusetts, trio has dragged its now familiar mix of Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and old-school Korn back through the gnarled metal grinder that spit out their first two albums, 1996’s Tormented and 1999’s Dysfunction. Clearly pissed, frontman Aaron Lewis punctuates his emotive croon with a long-neglected gut-wrenching scream, while lead guitarist Mike Mushok rips out several respectable solos.
While we playfully ignore 2008’s The Illusion of Progress as though it were Jay Leno, take a moment and remember that Staind used to be somewhat amicable. They weren’t necessarily up there in the pantheon of modern rock royalty, but certainly something worth mentioning in a blurb. I know that a few of you reading this probably sang “It’s Been a While” in your showers at some point, perhaps a friend even loaned you 1996’s Tormented because he was a smarmy, elitist “cool kid” about the whole deal and dreadfully loathed Fred Durst’s future production involvement.
Early in 2011, Staind lead singer Aaron Lewis did the unthinkable for a hard rock front man: he made a country record. That EP, Town Line, found Lewis playing with meter, adopting a gentler affectation, and introducing some genuinely interesting images in his lyrics. Town Line exposed a nuanced songwriter ready to ditch the tired rock tropes to reach a new audience… ...