Reviews Queens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris

Queens of the Stone Age

Era Vulgaris

Over the years, Queens of the Stone Age have managed to carve a deep niche into the hard stubbornness of mainstream music. Like his previous band Kyuss before, Josh Homme has created in Queens of the Stone Age a unique sound and style that sticks out like crazy on a milquetoast landscape. While the albums individually aren't always the most consistent, the band's career is. Era Vulgaris is the group's fifth album and while it isn't the best album released under the moniker, anyone familiar with the band would probably agree that sub-par Queens is still better than most contemporary group's greatest hits.

Still showing they've got a few tricks up their sleeve, "Turning the Screw" starts it all off with the signature guitar sound but with surprisingly different vocal harmonies that might sound more suited to a Sloan album. It'll take a couple of minutes to decide whether this is a good thing or not, but chances are you'll be won over by the end of the song.

We all know "Sick, Sick, Sick" is the lead off single, but upon listening to it in the context of the album as a whole it becomes abundantly clear that it damn well should be the lead off single. As brilliantly simple as it is catchy, drummer Joey Castillo hammers it out and cuts a swath a mile wide that should dispel any "When's Grohl coming back?" cries from the punters. This poor bastard has never gotten a fair shake since filling those undeniably formidable shoes on Lullabies to Paralyze, but believe me when I say, he's way overdue.

Era Vulgaris's sound is overall an interesting amalgam of all of Mr. Homme's current projects. There's the discordant tuning of songs like "Battery Acid" and "I'm Designer" that could easily be found on the next Desert Sessions album to the re-working of "Make It Wit Chu" that appeared on the last Desert Sessions album (a tradition carried on from previous releases). While the original version was more of a lounge act, this is the slow jam version complete with extra guitar solos for that smoooooth groove and a completely-out-of-place-but-still-really-cool bass outro that would make Geezer Butler proud. The sparse arrangements of songs like the previously mentioned "I'm Designer" bring to mind The Eagles of Death Metal but with just a few more Homme-onyms.

The band has always had their haters and this album isn't going to change that. I mean, lets face it, if Rated R or Songs for the Deaf didn't convince "˜em, they ain't ever gonna be turned. But those already in the loop have another great album for the summer.

7.9 / 10Kevin Fitzpatrick
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