The Illusion Of Progress review by Staind

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  • Released: Aug 19, 2008
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (68 votes)
Staind: The Illusion Of Progress
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Sound — 6
Although the album has it's share of strong, radio-friendly tracks, the title of Staind's sixth album is unfortunately fitting. If you've heard any number of Staind's big singles on the radio, you probably know their signature sound: slow, sometimes acoustic intro that leads into a soft first verse which then proceeds into a crashing, sing-along chorus, all complemented with self-obsessed, brooding lyrics. If that's what you're looking for with Staind, nothing more or less, then this album is right up your alley. The album's opener, "This is It," begins with a drum kick that leads into a big, heavily distorted guitar riff, which immediately falls back so that Aaron Lewis's voice can step in for the first verse. As always, the first single must appear within the first three to four tracks of the album, and in this case, it's track 3, "Believe." A good song in it's own right, but it sounds almost as if Staind is actually afraid to take risks and try something new. it's as if they've found their place in the gigantic music industry, have been greeted with some pretty good success for it, and are now afraid to let go of it in fear that they might be rejected. By track five or six, it becomes obvious that the "Dysfunction-era" Staind is a thing of the past. Nearly ever song on this album would've been called a "ballad" if one of them was placed on Break The Cycle or Dysfunction.

Lyrics — 8
The good news is: Aaron Lewis, a husband and father of three daughters, has matured, no longer whining about his troubled childhood (as much as he used to, anyway) or his lack of social skills. The bad news is, the new, mature Aaron gets a little boring at times. He does try some new sounds with his matured lyricism: "Tangled Up In You," written for his wife, is a very soft, sensitive song, that almost has a country feel to it with its use of a slide guitar. And "The Corner" sounds like it's backed with a church choir. This adds a bit of color to an album that is otherwise as gray as a thunderstorm. Vocally, it's amazing that Aaron's persistent smoking habit hasn't caught up to him yet, because he's as strong as always with his singing.

Overall Impression — 7
This albums, in a nutshell, is typical Staind. It's a step in no particular direction, just another album. If I could compare this to a previous work, it's probably closer to 14 Shades of Gray than anything else. Don't expect to headbang or mosh to any of the tracks here. This is the sound of a band doing what they do best and making little effort to shock or surprise anyone. If you expect anything more than catchy, thoughtful modern rock, look elsewhere.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    NightEmbers
    Damn! at least in Chapter V they had Please and some other hard stuff, seems like this is just another 14 shades of grey... the soft sad really does get old come on Aaron where is that intensity
    Teen Spirit
    Staind have always been good, and sayhing only hard stuff is good is stupid and ignorant, a lot of soft songs have deep meaning too. go staind.
    staind915
    the new album is great as it shows that the band has really grown in both terms of being more musical and more mature as adults, all the band members realized that they don't really have that anger and hate that they had when they first started cuz things are better for them now and they're showing, which is something true fans should appreciate if they did the same thing and matured themselves. this is a step in the right direction for them to experiment and it does pay off, and the debut at no. 3 on the top 200 is showing that they know what they're doing. staind doesnt always have to smash your face in everytime to get there point across and everyone should realize that and stop the "THis album is complete crap" bid and look at yourself and see how they've matured as adults/ great album and great work by the band. its really mikes breakthrough album here cuz he took a huge step forward bringing in more solos and melodies.
    23averagerocker
    Hm...that's all i can say to this album. It's not completely bad, they have a couple (three) of badass songs on here that I LOVE (The Way I Am, Pardon Me, & Raining Again). Don't get me wrong, they are a GREAT & UNIQUE band...i just FEEL that they could've done a bit better on the album. From what I read in interviews with aaron lewis, I have this feeling that they put out what the damn RECORD COMPANY wanted. I don't know, that's my guess, but it was a good effort. People that say that all albums from 13SOG up sucked, not really. 13 Shades of Grey wasn't a total ballad album, & Chapter V was by far an incredible CD. THAT was probably their most creative work & effort, I feel that NO song sounded the same. and Again, i'll admit that Illusion of Progress has majority of songs where Aaron drags his lyrics, & guitar riffs sound somewhat similar, but hey, they're still a unique band that MANY people can relate to. The only thing making them look like a waste of a band is the fact that they are being compared to a TRUE OVERRATED band like the jonas brothers. All they do is make majority of "i need you & want to kiss you before i say good-bye" songs that cute little 10 year old girls & punk-rock listeners SOMEHOW fall in love with. Staind can put an "i need you in my life" song on an album (such as 'All I Want'), but actually put more effort into creating an artistic song that actually sounds like a song that wasn't made in 15 minutes. (And to talk crap about the jonas brothers, i actually listened to a couple of songs, & i know what i'm saying...so don't act all high & mighty that "OH, you shouldn't post up if you don't like them" & crap like that...) Bottom line, Illusion of Progress=good effort, but it could be better. Still...STAIND ALL THE WAY!!!
    lethaldosage45
    yeah... this and dragonforce new cd are just bands making the same music over and over again... and that sucks... but ppl complain when bands stay the same.. so make up your minds !
    Eternium
    NightEmbers wrote: Damn! at least in Chapter V they had Please and some other hard stuff, seems like this is just another 14 shades of grey... the soft sad really does get old come on Aaron where is that intensity
    Never like a band just because of how hard they are. That's completely ignorant. Chapter V is an amazing album. Yes, I believe that their first three (Tormented to Break the Cycle) are some of the greatest CDs ever made, but that is because of the mix of the raw emotional vocals, lyrics, and instruments and now they seem too radio-friendly, but Staind still remains one of my favorite bands.
    Suav Nitebeest
    "...can see more of these songs circulation in my iTunes library and, more importantly, on the radio." Wow.
    _GoingBlind_
    a true disappointment, "illusion of progress" is the most apt name ever. Its like saying we tricked you into thinking we did something different, but its the same old staind.....no progress, but shit, their formula=platinum, more power to 'em. I miss dysfunctional days
    tim311mahoney
    The album is not too bad... Kind of the now typical route for these guys. I only have one complaint, STOP TOURING WITH NICKELBACK! I saw Staind back in 1999 right around when their first album hit. They ruled and Aaron punched a crowd surfer like 5 times because the dude was grabbing onto him... What happened to those days?