Sound — 8
For the decade since their first gig in February 1995, Staind became multi-platinum band, released five albums and played numerous amounts of concerts. Their fifth record, "Chapter V," out in August 2005, as singer Aaron Lewis describes it, "is the fifth chapter of feelings in a six-year long book; a narrative of feelings." The band called their fourth album on Atlantic record label "Chapter V" to attract the fans' attention to their first album, 1996's independent release "Tormented" (it's got such an overwhelming response that they decided to re-release their first record). After recording four albums with producer Josh Abraham, the band was looking for something different and thought it was time to change things up. The new record was produced by David Botrill (Tool, Godsmack). The band members admit it was harder to work with the new producer ? what they used to do for four hours, they did a whole day with Botrill -? "he was going for perfection," recalls bassist Johnny April. "Chapter V" starts strong with "Run Away." The moment in the song that got me excited is when you hear drums rolling from the right ear to the left and back. The album is full of beautiful melodies -? they are simple and stick in your head, but there's something wrong with them. You forget about the song when you hear the next one. What I noticed about the record -? all the songs are equally catchy. The track that you hear last is the one that's gonna play in your head for the rest of the day. Doesn't matter which song it was. Most songs are very much alike and are not memorable. The only standout on the album could be semi-acoustic "Everything Changes." The lead single "Right Here" has a catchy chorus due to repetitive lyrics and simple melody. "Paper Jesus" and "Run Away," filled with grinding guitars, are like a little reminder what the band sounded like back when they released "Dysfunction." Skirling guitars on other songs complete the band's "emo" status. Thick layers of heavy-sounding guitars and serious kick drum rhythms push songs in metal intensity. All of the musicians are very skill-wised and every song is played perfectly, which makes the record enjoyable to listen to.
Lyrics — 8
Writing songs for Lewis is the way to get all the things that bother him out. Instead of exploding his emotions directly to people, he puts his feeling in songs, which makes them very personal. You can realize that Lewis lived through each feeling he sings about as he puts his soul into every song. That, plus his perfect vocal delivery, makes songs very reach in sound. Lyrics, being emotions Lewis accumulated inside, are bitter words about how hard relationships and life in general is (apparently all the joy he saves for the ones, who he talks to). The singer claims he tries to be as vague lyrically as possible and puts his bare emotions in songs. There's one track that differs lyrically from all the rest relationship melodrama. "Reply" is a song for all faithful Staind fans -? "So thank you for the letters that/You though you wrote in vain/And for the times you chose/To stand out in the rain/And wait for me." Much better, than thanking fans in the "thank you message" somewhere at the end of a CD booklet.
Overall Impression — 6
Staind found it's niche and invented their own unique style -- unlike their rap-rock colleagues, Staind is one of those rare bands, whom you weren't hear blatant screaming from. Instead of that there a whole lot of crooning and melody-based emotional songs. They could be called the most "emo" band on the alt-rock scene. Most bands have 70% of their album filled by fast-paced songs and a few ballads. Staind has is vice versa -? among 12 track only about three can be called fast. Why not, if powerful ballads are what Staind can do best? They certainly became experts in making crooning rock ballads, but is that all they have talent for? I remember listening to my first Staind album "Break The Cycle." After the third song I started to think "Is he always gonna whine like that?" And nothing changed till the end of the record. Nothing changed till now either. It gets quite annoying when somebody's complaining in your ear for almost all of 12 songs straight on every of 5 albums. Unfortunately that can spoil the whole impression, even if the record is done perfectly. Hopefully, it's the last depressing self-pitying chapter of the band's suffering. Cheer up, guys!