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The Illusion Of Progress

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(84 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Well, that’s probably not the best way to title a review.

    Staind changes musical direction (again!), going for what I call “Medium Heavy Melody”. Gone are the pop-like (hyperbole here, folks) beats of their prior two albums, replaced with a Breaking Benjamin sound alike contest between Aaron Lewis and his band. In the end, I’d say Aaron won, as he’s competently mirroring BB’s vocal tenor; i.e., fake crescendo.

    I’m afraid, my friends, that the Staind that gave us “Dysfunction” and “Break the Cycle” are dead and gone; instead, we’ve got the current incarnation, writing music for teens to hold each other and feel sorry for themselves too. I guess young folks don’t like LOUD these days.

    Don’t get me wrong, the album isn’t bad. I’ve listened to it a few times and sort of enjoy most of it. “This Is It” is a great way to start the album, subdued but not sappy, and original enough to have given me hope that the rest of the album was going somewhere (I bought “The Illusion of Progress” on that one song’s merit, in fact). Well, turns out that the album title was much more literal than I’d anticipated. The rest of the tracks meander from one pleasant Heavy Medium Melody to the next, rarely taking a breath to change pace or reevaluate direction.

    So should you buy it? Mmmmm, depends on what you like. If you only liked Staind’s first two albums and are waiting for them to return to form, then I’d say definitely not; you’ll just get mad at yourself for believing that’s even feasible after 8 years. On the other hand, if you prefer their later work, then I’d say probably. It might even be an bonus that two of the songs on “Illusion” have the word `rain’ in their title!

    Well structured overall, Staind delivers a neat, clean product of likable (though boring and mundane) radio-friendly rock songs. Take your chances; at the very least it won’t make you gag.

    Posted on December 28, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The songs all sound pretty much the same. Only one good track on entire CD

    Posted on December 28, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I still remember the first time I saw Staind in concert back in 2001. I hardly knew anything about the band but it turned out to be one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever seen! Shortly after this they became my favorite band and even managed to change my taste in music for the better. I must have listened to “Break the Cycle” countless times throughout high school. That album truly must be one of the greatest of all time in my opinion. Well seven years down the road (can’t believe its been that long!) and I still love Staind even though I no longer consider them my favorite.

    Unfortunately I’ve felt the last couple albums including this one lack originality and the ability to stir up emphatic feelings like the other ones did. I hate to compare one album to another because I love to watch bands branch out and progress in order to push their creativity. But with Staind I don’t think they’ve branched out enough and it’s left the last few albums sounding like cloned counterparts of previous efforts. I’m not saying the albums aren’t good, personally I love 14 Shades of Grey and Chapter V but the thing that made B.T.C. so epic is that fans felt like they could relate to it. It seemed in way to define a new generation much like Pearl Jam’s “Ten” or Nirvana’s “Nevermind” did in the 90’s. Although Aaron and the group still write great songs and lyrics they don’t seem to be able to pull fans in like they once did. “The Illusion of Progress” is a good album and is worth checking out but if your looking for another epic Staind album you probably wont find it…

    ON A SIDE NOTE: I THINK ANY REVIEW COMPARING RECENT Staind albums to “Dysfunction” or “Tormented” should be DISREGARDED. People either loved or hated the change in musical direction the group made (I for one loved it) but its like trying to compare apples and oranges. They’re two completely different styles and sounds.

    Posted on December 28, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I will keep this simple. If you liked 14 Shades of Gray, half of Break the Cycle or most of Chapter 5 then you will like this. It’s as simple as that. Staind has done nothing to progress or grow as a band since Dysfunction. They have continually churned out the same saccharine, existential, middle of the road music, and people like myself keep buying it. Some are hoping for them to deliver something hard like Dysfunction again, while others like spending money on the same album over and over again.

    Sadly, people will rate this 5 stars and all I can say about that is that this is absolutely not a 5 star album. It’s not even a 4. 5 should typically be reserved for a masterpiece. 4 should be a solid release. At best, this album is a 3. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Some pretty good tracks, some so-so tracks and the rest is fodder. There are no outstanding tracks. There aren’t even any great tracks. Pardon Me is closest the band comes to a great track, and it might bore some people anyway. Rainy Day Parade will be touted as the “hard track” that harkens back to the old days, but it’s really just guitar set up with distortion. In the scheme of things, it’s actually a pretty corny and boring record.

    Of course it’s impossible for me to truly say what you will really like or not like on this album. This review is coming from someone that keeps holding his breath for a good follow-up to Dysfunction. Break the Cycle had great moments often. 14 Shades had maybe 3 good tracks, but the rest were boring and lacking of any passion or artistry. Chapter 5 was kind of cheesy, but I ended up liking half the tracks in spite of the that.

    Sadly, Staind sounds almost the same as they did 7 years ago, and they’ve done 4 albums in that time. They have literally become another Nickelback, and it frustrates me to see such a waste of potential. Hmm, maybe that should be the name of the next record? Either way, consider this fan disappointed again. I will listen to the album a few more times and then it will rot on my shelf. I am pretty sure that it will be the same for a majority of you.

    Unfortunately I have so much confidence in the band; I will anxiously await the next release in 2010.

    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m an older music fan. I’ve lived thru the Classic Rock era, Prog Rock, Punk, New Wave, Pop, Glam, Hair Metal, Speed Metal, Reggae, etc. And I enjoy everything from Jazz to Black Metal. I’ve seen it all, boys and girls. And I have to tell all you fake, pseudo, poser, music reviewers, this is probably one of the worst eras for Rock music I’ve ever witnessed in my life. Most of the Metal and Rock has absolutely nothing to say! And no way to say it! There is almost no originality anymore. The bands all sound exactly the same. British Synth Pop, Death Metal, Post Metal, Metalcore, Mathcore, and yes, especially Nu-Metal. And songwriting? Forget it. It’s gone the way of the dinosaur. No more Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Robin Trower, or Bad Company. I can sample a 100 new Metal or Pop albums and I hear maybe one that sounds unique. No one will remember the bulk of these bands. I’ll remember Staind.

    “Hey, man. It’s not cool to listen to Staind anymore. Dude, they’ve lost their edge.” Afraid of what your friends might say? Maybe your friends are fools. So, to you music snobs that make it a hobby to bash this band because it’s not the kind of music you enjoy, you wouldn’t recognize a well crafted Rock song if it jumped up and bit you on the nipple. I fart in your general direction, sirs. It all sounds like sour grapes to me. You wish that they would continue recording in the style of their first two albums over and over, but you complain that they’re recording the same album over and over. You wish you were making the kind of money that this band is making. (I know, I know, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the music.” Yeah, that’s what musicians say when they’re not making any.) You only wish you could affect people with music the way that Aaron Lewis does. What a bunch of frustrated musicians and welps. You complain that all Aaron does is whine. Take a look in the mirror. If you’re all so self-righteously happy in your musical proclivities, I have a Doris Day album you can have. Right now.

    For my money, along with Travis Meeks from Days of The New, Aaron Lewis is probably one of THE greatest straight-up singer/songwriters I’ve heard in Music in the last twenty years. PERIOD! I know that’s a bold statement, but I STAIND behind it. (Oooo, sorry.) I’m in my 40s, and the last time I broke up with a chick, I wasn’t listening to a Frank Sinatra album, Radiohead, Tool, or Emperor’s Anthems to The Welkin at Dusk. I was playing a Staind album. Me, I’ll take Aaron Lewis and Staind when I’m feelin’ down. Everytime.

    How many artists can write a song about their daughters, and make it work? Do any Rock artists know how to just sing a simple song, anymore? Not many. Aaron Lewis’ lyrics are tragic, sad, tender, cathartic, heartfelt, painful, and just downright beautiful. His words are full of alienation, hope, despair, love, longing, frustration, and life. All the things that are required for a songwriter to speak to this music fan.

    I have to agree that these other bands are just copycatting this dreaded Nu-Metal style. Nickelback, Breaking Benjamin, Evans Blue, etc. (This sub-categorization of music is the dumbest part of Rock music to ever come down the pike. What a bunch of alienating nonsense, invented by music snobs with nothing better to do.) There is nothing wrong with enjoying different styles of music. As long as you can appreciate the best that a particular genre has to offer. Staind is THE best at what they do. They are original. Everything else is a pale imitation. The bands that progress beyond the limits of their nature and experiment too much, usually fold. If I like Staind, I wanna hear Staind. I’m pleased that I can count on Staind sounding like Aaron’s cries in the night. So what if people call it Nu-Metal or Emo? For some, life is painful. For others, the world is on fire. “Bartender, I’ll have a Xanax and a Red Bull.” You never get depressed? Yeah, right. I bet you never get any chicks either. So what if the heavier edge is gone from their music? You should have figured that out by now, spendthrift. Aaron Lewis and Staind are mellowing. And maturing. (Yeah, I said it. Wanna fight? Anytime, music snobs. I’ll run you over with my Harley.) And unlike the last Cannibal Corpse album, I can actually sing along with their music. Which just becomes more dignified with every album they put out.

    Thanks, for gettin’ me thru some tough times, Aaron. I dig your music, man. This is a f$%king GREAT album! Keep making goods ones. And I’ll keep buying ‘em.

    As long as you turn it way up, this album is heavy enough, in all the right places. Constructed around Aaron’s lyrics, this one definitely contains the softer, soulful side of their sound at times. Which I prefer, seeing as how I’m as old as Methuselah and all. When all is said and done, it’s a beautiful mix. (Another music snob fallacy: If music has a commercial feel, it’s worthless. An absolutely closed-minded and ludicrous viewpoint.) It would be apropos to take Staind out of the sticky morass of Nu-Metal and place them in the wide open field of Music. I see the album title as a tongue-in-cheek stab at critics that accuse them of making the same music over and over again. Or Aaron has discovered a hard truth about getting older: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Works either way. It moves me enough to give it Five Star status. Best Riff: Rainy Day Parade! Best Song: It’s a TIE! Tangled Up In You! Wow! and Raining Again! If you APPRECIATE Staind, you don’t want to miss this album. It’s one of their BEST, and a worthy addition to their catalog.

    Everyone that hates this band, your buddies just voted you out of the band, and your mom is yelling at you to clean up your room.

    Everyone else,


    Posted on December 27, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now