Queens Of The Stone Age are back!
Of all the rock bands accepted by metalheads, Queens tend to find themselves near the top of the list. Their older music, while saturated with ‘radio rock’ tropes, had a dark, gritty, edge to it. Albums such as ‘Rated R’ and ‘Songs for the Deaf’ are classics. Their more recent work, 2013’s ‘Like Clockwork’ was a much more subdued effort and one that didn’t really interest me as a listener. The talent was there, but many of the songs came off as extremely mellow and even boring.
‘Villains’ is a good (albeit not perfect) step forward.
The intro track ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’ is my hands-down favorite song off the album. It makes you want to get up and dance, all while having a bit of bite. It transitions nicely into the love it or hate it ‘The Way You Used To Do.’ After that is where the album becomes very divisive.
‘Domesticated Animals’ is a politically-charged track with a simple but catchy riff. ‘Fortress’ scales things back and offers a very ‘Like Clockwork’ feel–by that I mean I found it boring! ‘Head Like A Haunted House’ brings back the uptempo mood of first two songs off the album, only too see things slow down again with the tracks ‘Un-Reborn Again’ and ‘Hideaway.’
‘The Evil Has Landed’ was the second single off the album, and is full of great riffs. The song builds toward a great, satisfying ending. However, the closer “Villains Of Circumstance’ is the exact opposite; a slow burn that amounts to nothing. It feels like a disappointment compared to the song before it.
Overall, there is a lot to like on this hodgepodge of an album, but not much to love. Fans of ‘Like Clockwork’ will probably enjoy the slow songs, while fans of the bands earlier material will dig the more exciting songs–all while wishing they’d tune their guitars back down to C-standard and get Dave Ghrol on the kit.
But hey, they can’t all be ‘Songs For The Deaf.’