The Road review by Aaron Lewis

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Nov 13, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.5 (31 votes)
Aaron Lewis: The Road

Sound — 9
Aaron Lewis has unabashedly proven that he has left his mark in the music world. He is originally and currently the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist for the American alternative rock and post-grunge band Staind, and throughout his 17 years as frontman he has assisted in creating 7 studio albums and 5 chart topping singles, which have been met with worldwide acclaim. And after 15 million albums sold and nearly two decades spent with this prestigious rock band, Aaron has now decided to venture out a bit and try something on his own; a full-length solo album, which follows the country vibe of last year's critically acclaimed EP "Town Line", while also packing a more significant rock and roll punch.

His new solo album "The Road" has Aaron freelancing his creative skill set and standing out in a manner in which he clearly is at the forefront. Considering how Aaron powerfully implemented his complimentary singing style and passion for the acoustic guitar in his albums with Staind, it should not come as a surprise that Aaron can make this jump from the alternative rock scene to a venue that can emphasize his vocals and acoustic guitar playing style. One of the best examples off the new record is "Anywhere But Here", which features Aaron adding a dash of bluesy country twang into his singing style, while backed by comforting acoustic guitar chords and some just standout backup vocals. Other clear highlights off the new disc is the anthemic "Red, White & Blue" and the upbeat "Endless Summer", which should be able to rock the charts as easily as Aaron's earlier work continues to do.

Now speaking of Aaron's earlier work, I have to say that I've given this new release a little bit of thought, especially his decision to jump the fence from alternative rock to country music. Now sure, it bears a moderately heavy country vibe and feel to it, but in many ways there's not much of a difference between Aaron's new solo album and most of his material with Staind. The vocals are the same, this time with just a dash of southern style. And the acoustic guitar isn't completely foreign to Aaron's work in Staind, either. In fact the acoustic accompaniment is partially what made such tunes as Outside so enjoyable. The difference is this time, the acoustic guitar is just louder and wields a more dominant power. So although The Road isn't exactly what longtime Staind fans might come to expect from the nu metal singer, this new solo album holds enough familiarity and creativity to, I think, not only appeal to country music lovers, but to the diehard Staind fans as well.

Lyrics — 8
Aaron's singing on "The Road" is downright top notch. Throughout all 10 tracks on the new record, Aaron masterfully adds a heavy southern accent into his voice, that is so head-on that it sounds as though he has been doing this for his entire music career. Throughout his time as the lead singer for Staind, I've always found Aaron's singing style to be more complimentary than anything else, as though he considered his own voice to be just another instrument in the song. I found that in his new solo record, Aaron is beginning to come more out of his shell vocally, and delivers a much more dominant presence when it comes to his singing.

Overall Impression — 9
"The Road" in many ways, proves to be more like a four-way intersection of sorts. On one hand, it features everything you might expect out of an Aaron Lewis solo album, such as the memorable acoustic guitar riffs and head haunting choruses that made many of Staind's songs radio hits. On another, you have a solo record that shows off the more musically complex side of the renowned frontman of Staind, overflowing with dominating country rock influences. Whether you are a full fledged Staind fan, or a country music fanatic, this is definitely worth picking up. For an album that is proving more and more to be one of the stronger country rock releases of the year, it's definitely worth every penny.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I think it's funny how the worst ****ing album from the worst derivative of metal or hard rock that exists hovers around average reviews of 8.0 (which is highly above an average review), and you all get upset if somebody gives something a 6-7 or lower because that may as well be a 1 in your eyes. Yet this gets a 2.7 average because it is perceived as country, and for no other apparent reason. What I mean there is that for hard rock and metal, the users on this site essentially create a biased scale for the reviews, which is only about 2.5 points -- 7.5-10 -- which really gives no sort of inclination of what to expect in terms of quality from any album; it's like having a word-based review system that ranges from outstanding to excellent. However, when it comes to 'genres' that are blacklisted by this website/community, you open up the rest of the rating points. I would argue, from what I've heard, that it's unfair to give this material a rating lower than 5. However, aside from some slight instrumentation (such as the steel guitar) and some lyrical topics (such as patriotism and whiskey), most of it is essentially exactly the same as his work with Staind. So, apparently, actual music has nothing at all to do with the genre your music should be described as, and it's really more about what instruments are in the mix and the words that you say; also, the quality of the music has more to do with the genre its perceived as than the music itself. Gotta love double those standards.
    you lost me at I
    He's saying that most users rate this low because of the word "Country" tagged to it instead of actually listening to it. He's right. It's absurd. I'll take good country over metal any day, but that's me. At the same time, I'll never rate an album below a 5 based on genre. People need to actually listen to shit before they rate it.
    Pretty sure I'd rather bash my head on the sidewalk than listen to this. Not because it's country, because it's Stained.
    Just got back from seeing Aaron Lewis in Evansville, Indiana and have to say that the show was friggin' AMAZING!!!!! Even if you aren't a big country music fan (which I am not), it was soooo kick ass!!!! Brian Davis (never heard him before the show)was really good too!