Years from now I may look back at 2011 as the year Staind remembered how to be heavy. Choosing to make this album their self-titled release might beg the question if it's hard enough to compare to their early works like Dysfunction ('99) and Break the Cycle ('01). If you'd ask me, I give a resounding 'yes'! The album opens with the chugging bass guitar from Johnny April, establishing a heavy and dark tone. Aaron Lewis and Mike Mushock join after a couple measures with heavy, drop-tuned guitars, and for the old-school Staind fan, a trip down nostalgia lane is already underway...
Aside from the instruments being hard and heavy, Aaron's vocals are likewise very much hardcore. Granted, in true Staind fashion, he does mix it up with melodic singing (as he always has), but the ratio favors the hardcore style to a surprising degree. Newer fans who may be accustomed to Staind's softer tone of their recent works; 14 Shades of Grey ('03), Chapter V ('05), or The Illusion of Progress ('08), may be shocked to hear the band sounding so harsh, but it may be the album some of the older fans have been waiting for!
My favorite songs from Staind's latest:
-Eyes Wide Open
-Not Again (This one might trick you, as it opens with some clean guitar melody, but The heavily distorted power chords bash you in the head mere seconds later. From there the song does slip back into melodic passages periodically, but the choruses are heavy!)
-Failing (Now this is classic Staind! Minor key, dark, despairing mood. Vocals that truly emote frustration and melancholy.)
-Throw It All Away (This song is maybe closer to the 50/50 clean-to-heavy guitar tone that may please those fans waiting for Staind to show their soft side, however the mood is still dark and downing.)
-Something To Remind You (The last track actually IS a softer, acoustic number. Perhaps it's here to remind us that, yes, this is still the band that brought us songs like "Epiphany" and "Everything Changes")