Sound — 10
For their second outing, and their first with proper production behind them, this Palm Desert four-piece band went for a larger and more professional sound. You can tell they're using better equipment this time around, and you can hear how guitarist Josh Homme has improved his technique. There's a lot of variety on offer, with some fast paced and doomy Sabbath-like riffage (50 Million Year Trip, Mondo Generator) to accoustic intervals (Capsised). However the stand-out song has to be Thong Song, with its periods of silence followed by a crushing, detuned and percussive riff.
Lyrics — 8
Kerrang! once described John Garcia's lyrics as "those of a man several sand dunes short of a desert", and you wouldn't listen to a Kyuss song for your pearls of wisdom or moral guidance. What you get is a singer with a mellow toned voice providing the perfect antidote to the heavy riffs. You won't remember what he says (the chorus to Thong Song is "Whoa yeah, I don't even care! Whoa yeah, I go over there!") Aside from the stoned ramblings of Garcia, on Mondo Generator you get bassist Nick Oliveri screaming out indecipherable lines through some heavy distortion. The track itself is named after drummer Brant Bjork's nickname for Nick's bass amp (pictured inside the cover).
Overall Impression — 10
If you quite like Queens Of The Stone Age but wish they were heavier, this is the record for you. It sounds like early days Sabbath, but with a mellow streak and more variety between songs than you'll find on Paranoid. There aren't many solos and the lyrics aren't the best in the world, but the band seem to play together so well. Brant Bjork on drums is never short of imagination (think Bonham). I've never found someone who wasn't impressed by this record, whatever their tastes. The album that kickstarted stoner rock is a must for any hard rock/metal fan's collection.