Sound — 10
QOTSA have always been about loud, brash, primal rock and roll. I view them as a modern day Led Zeppelin myself. Each part of the song, the vocals, the bass, the drums and the guitars compliment each other. They also employ other musical instruments, this very album contains a brass band, a flute, a Lap Steel and erm, cow bells (big ones and small ones). A second reason as to why I link them to Led Zep, is the mystisicm that surrounds the band and its music. This is most apparent in this particular album. Josh Homme, described the songs on this album as ones that you'd sing alone under a street lamp at night. The best way to listen to this album is alone in a dark room (preferably in sight of a full moon). The album begins with a whisper called 'This Lullaby', unlike previous Queens outings. This whisper is sung by Mark Lanegan, over hypnotic acoustic guitar, it is the prelude sung when the sun sets. Anyone expecting a loud moshathon akin to 'Feel Good Hit of the Summer' (Rated R) or 'Millionaire' (Songs For The Deaf) for an opener will be caught of guard. You needn't worry because this lullaby is very short and blossoms into a more recogniseable QOTSA fair with 'Medication'. This is why you love QOTSA, a primal bout of guitar bashing laced with Homme's vocals. You will notice a difference in Homme's voice, he is singing better than ever. The next song is bound to be a single and its just great. 'Everybody Knows That You Are Insane' starts with dreamy bottle neck guitar licks and is almost reminiscent of a Bond song. The song fades into the stratosphere before hitting you with an atom bomb with the chorus - the best chorus you'll hear this year. The song progresses with a kind of 'Go With The Flow' style, pounding and unrelentless. Next come Tangled Up In Plaid, which like the previous track takes a complete turnaround in the chorus. It starts off with a march style verse and evolves into a thunderous uproar of ravenous bliss. 'Burn The Witch' is unlike anything the Queens have done before, it has a blusey style, mostly due to a guest appearence from ZZ Topp's Billy Gibbons. It is a simple riff that is so dumb and catchy, it sounds exactly like a witch hunt basically. Next track 'In My Head' is another good one, again it has a relentless approach but is more of a sing along, one of the album's only radio friendly tracks I'd say. Next track is 'Little Sister' the first single, it's a great song with an uber cool solo at the end, but for some reason it sounds out of place on the album. Too short possibly, more akin to something you'd hear on an earlier album (but apparently the song's genesis was around the recording of Rated R). The next song is 'I Never Came', which is less of a moshing song, and is strangely relaxing with a slow hand solo. The next song has got to be the album's centerpiece - 'Someone's In The Wolf' this will be the most twisted thing you'll possibly hear this year. A seven minute opus of frantic razor sharp harmonising guitar shaped riffery. It will blow you away (and then melt you) different to anything they've ever done - it sounds like a fairy tale gone wrong (and if you see the video). The next song is 'This Blood Is Love', all people who brought the Little Sister single will have heard the remix. The original mix is way better and tyrannosaurus heavy. It is followed by the seedy 'Skin On Skin', where the guitar depreciates into a kind of sludgey bomb that will drown you should you merely hear about it. 'Broken Box' continues the seedy theme and is an above average song. The album's ensemble song comes next "You Got a Killer Scene There, Man..." Homme is the epitomy of rock and roll cool behind the mike here (smoking too). The next and last song is the 'Long Slow Goodbye' a toned down fitting end to an album of darkness. It ends with an orchestra and sounds both like sunrise and a funeral. This album sounds good. If you like your rawk raw and deep then welcome to a dark heaven.
Lyrics — 10
Josh Hommes voice has improved, his lyrics sound much the same, which is thoughtful, creepy, erotic and mangy (like a rabid dog). The lyrics convey the mystisism of the album. Homme is able to write a darn good chorus, playing live this will show, just listen to "Everybody Knows That Your Insane!". The best comes in "Someone's In The Wolf" the chorus begging us to 'Stay Forever' in the woods. There ain't no crappy emo on here, Homme clearly has a girlfriend (Brody Dalle) and is an experienced lyricist.
Overall Impression — 10
I'm a QOTSA fan. I was counting the days until this album's release and when it finally came I went out and got the deluxe edition which included an extra DVD containing studio footage, a mock interview and a masterfully disturbing video for 'Someone's In The Wolf', which includes the band running around a wood in wolf masks dancing with a hot dazed chick with knives. This album needs to be brought, for one the Queens need to eat! But mostly because its a provacative album, a moshing riot and a sublime journey into the man's heart of darkness (I thank you Joseph Conrad). 'Little Sister' is just the tip of the ice berg. Below the water is a huge mass of ice that ships are going to have to watch out for. The abscence of Nick Olivieri, is not felt, except for absence of his minute long shoutathons which are included in Rated R and Songs For The Deaf. Although the album does include Lanegan on one track (and a bonus track) this is Josh Homme's show all the way through. Songs for the Deaf was a Nevermind type album in that it was a commercial success and brought QOTSA to the alternative mainstream. With Lullabies to Paralyse, the band take a step back from where they were going and go for a walk in the dark forest. It has to be listened to, it is their most intelligent album. If I lost it, I'd buy it again and kill the one who stole it to the sound of 'Someone's In The Wolf'. I apologise but I'm going to have to give it a five.