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Lullabies to Paralyze

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★★★★☆
(188 Reviews)

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This album is crammed full of stand out tracks such as ’In My Head’, ’Burn The Witch’, ’Medication’ & ’Tangled Up In Plaid’. One bonus track, ’Like A Drug’ is also included. Universal. 2005.Nick Oliveri may have departed, taking his naked bass playing skills with him, but Queens of the Stone Age remains in good hands with co-founder Josh Homme. Putting extracurricular projects like Eagles of Death Metal and the Desert Sessions briefly on hold, the restless front man keeps things dependably loud and sludgy on the group’s third album. Monster riffs, choppy rhythms, explosive melodies, and, yes, even a generous serving of cowbell, propel standout songs like ”Medication” and ”Little Sister” on the follow-up to 2002’s breakthrough Songs for the Deaf. Friends also lend a hand. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons shreds through the reverberating ”Burn The Witch,” while Garbage’s Shirley Manson and the Distillers’ Brody Dalle join Homme for a tantalizing threesome on ”You Got A Killer Scene.” – Aidin Vaziri

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  • I’ll be honest: when I heard “Little Sister” a few weeks ago, I was less than impressed. I was fairly apprehensive that QOTSA were going to take the low road and produce a substandard record to satisfy their pocketbooks.

    Not the case. The band sounds better than ever, even without Nick Oliveri. Some of the grit and off-the-wall strangeness is gone, and that’s probably because they don’t have Nick to open this album like he did on “Songs For the Deaf.” However, what it lacks in rawness is made up for in creativity. The songs are driving and unmistakeably QOTSA. In an industry where these guys were once the exception, and then the norm, they’ve proven themselves once more to be a step above the rest.

    “Little Sister” is my least favorite song on the CD. Songs like “Everybody Knows That You’re Insane” are edgy and stay with you. The “Wolf” (not sure of the exact title) song trails off, descends into some surreal noises, and comes blazing back for a finale, staying true to the QOTSA roots.

    All in all, a great album that won’t leave my CD player for quite some time.

    Posted on December 19, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • By now it’s no secret that you can always rely on Queens of the Stone Age to deliver your fix if you’re jonesing for some intelligent, interesting hard rock, and their latest album shouldn’t do anything to tarnish their already lofty reputation in the rock world. That said, there are some pretty big changes to be absorbed here, starting with the personnel: after the commercial breakthrough of Songs for the Deaf, bassist and co-founder Nick Oliveri left and took the band’s punkish edge with him, while Dave Grohl departed with his legendary drumming skills and his star power in tow. However, Josh Homme apparently wasn’t going down that easy, as he quickly regrouped, took the helm himself, and churned out Lullabies to Paralyze with a reconstituted lineup. There are some other changes to absorb, as well, as the band’s recent tumult is reflected in a rather modified sound. For those accustomed to the catchy, at times even radio-friendly stylings of Songs for the Deaf or its predecessor Rated R, this album will surely come as something of a surprise. And even those who are familiar with Josh’s larger body of work going back to his days with stoner rock pioneers Kyuss are likely be taken somewhat aback by what’s on display here.

    Whatever you may think of him, you’ve got to give Josh Homme credit for at least one thing: for a guy who just experienced an unlikely commercial breakthrough less than three years ago, he’s not playing it safe and cranking out singles for the local corp-rock station on this album. Lullabies to Paralyze is notably less accessible and immediately gratifying than the album that came before it (and the album that came before that, for that matter), as it’s marked throughout by a twisted guitar sound and an overall disaffected mood that only intensifies as it goes on. This reviewer can’t help but think the strains of the rock and roll lifestyle are starting to wear on Josh after a decade and a half, as Lullabies is easily the darkest and hardest-edged thing he’s put out, at least under the Queens of the Stone Age moniker. Nick’s departure has regrettably reduced the band’s fun quotient a bit, but no matter: the band is obviously in more than capable hands with Josh as its principal mastermind, as this album manages to convey a suitably raw and grungy feel without masking the razor-sharp songwriting to be found within.

    In his illustrious career Josh has proven himself adept at finding an endless series of variations on both the basic rock riff and the time-honored rock song form, and this album is no exception. Here the result is a collection of songs that show a consistent knack for starting you off in one direction and then pulling you without warning in another. Lullabies to Paralyze revels in off-kilter time signatures, jarring song structures, and heavy layers of guitar distortion, and while that made the album more of a challenge that I had anticipated, it was all the more rewarding for it.

    Lullabies to Paralyze mines more sonic territory on its first three songs than most entire albums: Mark Lanegan’s husky baritone crooning sets the tone nicely on This Lullaby; Medication is a short, sharp burst of chugging rock fury; and Everybody Knows That You are Insane starts as a mournful quasi-ballad before careening suddenly into a more chaotic sound propelled by a momentous groove. From there the Queens explore a different corner of the rock world at almost every turn, ranging from warped pop-rock to warped alt-rock to warped noise rock (you should be noticing a pattern by now). Lullabies to Paralyze is predictably unpredictable, flying out in all sorts of directions (and with all sorts of instrumentation), but the top-notch musicianship of Josh & Co. is always there to hold things together. At the end of the day Lullabies to Paralyze is almost as trippy, as groove-laden, and as utterly enjoyable as anything the Queens have ever put out. Whatever its commercial fortunes turn out to be, this album deserves every bit of acclaim it gets.

    Posted on December 19, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is great. It grows on you the more you listen to it. In my opinion, it’s better than Songs for the Deaf, and much much better than R (which I thought only had a few good songs). This album however is a great overall album – good songs the whole way through. Especially tracks like ‘Everybody Knows That You Are Insane’, ‘I Never Came’, ‘Medication’, and ‘Someones In The Wolf’ for which there’s a film clip on the bonus dvd (in Australia). I think this album is a little darker and more melodic, which is a good thing in my book. It’s also sounds more like their classic self-titled album (I need to listen to this new one a bit more before saying it’s better than their first album, as it one of my all-time favourites). The absense of Nick Oliveri seems it will now prove what Kyuss fans have known all along that Josh is a very talented musician, as the first QOTSA album also proved (I’m not saying that Nick isn’t very talented himself).

    Posted on December 19, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Whoever was concerned what a post-Oliveri “QOTSA” would sound like need fear no more: the future is here and it’s solid. There is a deceptive “easy” quality to the work, but trust me it is deceptive. Repeated listenings of “Lullabies” reveal a growing “adult” quality to the Queens work, but the intensity that attracted so many fans is still at work here and Homme and Company give everything they have to the project with the ensuing result being: one of the best rock albums to come out this year. (Granted, the year is still young, but my comment about “Lullabies” will be just as valid come December.)

    Even more, unlike other “QOTSA” that held (in my humble opinion) a few misses as well as hits, there isn’t a single bad moment on “Lullabies.”

    Although everyone is saying this isn’t a concept album, “Lullabies to Paralyze” has a strong feeling all the way through it that make it nearly impossible not to want to listen to the entire thing. Over and over. A+ Effort!

    Posted on December 19, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The last album by the Queens of the Stone Age was “Songs for the Deaf,” a frenetic collection of the hardest kind of rock. It was a thrilling, visceral experience, not one soon forgotten. Then nude bassist Nick Oliveri departed from the band, taking the wilder edge of the band with him. Oh, what would become of the Queens of the Stone Age?

    Well, if “Lullabies to Paralyze” is any indication, then they are doing fine. This album relies on Josh Homme, and it’s stripped down to… well, not down to the bare bones, but some very strong, lean sinew. The albums opens with a little acoustic ballad, “Lullaby,” which starts things off on a strong footing.

    From there on, things get stranger — fast paced songs that just keep speeding up, ominous buildups, and nightmarish undertones.There are moments of quieter catchiness — “Little Sister” seems perfect for the album’s first single. And a few tracks feel a bit like filler. But overall, “Lullabies” is very much in the flavour of the Queens’ second album, “Rated R.” Only darker and somehow more whimsical.

    Singer/songwriter/guitarist Josh Homme gets to rule in this one. Truth be told, he ruled all through the Desert Sessions, Kyuss, and now he sits in the middle of the Queens of the Stone Age, like a sinister-but-not-evil mastermind. Oliveri’s manic style and gimmicks are gone, and in their place is steady, dark rock’n'roll that takes strange and unexpected twists.

    It’s not a concept album, but it feels that way — the mood gets generally creepier as “Lullabies” goes on. Fuzzy guitars, dark metallic riffs, and eerie harmonies get a few unusual flourishes, such as that broken music box. And Homme’s vocals blend into the songs like another instrument — great stuff. It only emphasizes how central he is to the band’s unique sound.

    Queens of the Stone Age seemed to be endangered when Oliveri departed, but “Lullabies to Paralyze” shows that the band is just fine. Not quite perfect, but a solid creation.

    Posted on December 18, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now