Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Review: Staind - Staind

 After the 90s, the genre known as "grunge" was one that really fell out the forefront of popular rock. Following the suicide of Kurt Cobain, the masses wanted a new type of rock sound to take to the forefront which was found in masses of nu metal and DIY pop punk groups, before they then fell out of the forefront to be replaced by indie rock and so on and so fourth... Anyway, in 2000, grunge had a less commercially successful but still significantly popular revival which continues to this day. The sound is much heavier and the bands who perform it are the most criticized in the world. And I can't think of a band who has demonstrates my statement better than Springfield's Staind.
 I've never seen so much shit thrown at one band before. Actually, there's always Nickelback and Creed, but that's another post, for another day. But the only place I've ever managed to find good things written about Staind are approval from fans in the comment sections of their Youtube videos, and even then all those comments really do are gang up on anyone who's gone and disliked the videos ("who ever disliked this is a fuckin queer!!!", Woah! homophobic, much?) I've never thought negatively of their sound. There's a real passion and talent in what they create. So I've had a fairly enjoyable time listening to their latest self-titled album.
 The music contained is extremely gripping, powerful and pummeling and carries a very genuine sense of feeling which helps project the suffering and fury of frontman and lead vocalist, Aaron Lewis. Feelings of anger, suffering, doom, loss and bitterness are excellently carried through the music itself, be it in Lewis' aggressive vocals, or the bleak, and doomy grunge riffs and occasional nu metal inspired assault, which is also aided by a very powerful bassline. Much skill is put into creating this moody rock album. And moody it certainly is. Staind have never been the cheeriest band around and if you'd like to hear grunge that has a bit more fun, it would be best to look to Seether. However, there is much substance found on Staind, with their aggressive grunge sound. This is not a band who need gimmicks such as I don't know, rapping, intentional humour, riffs that became overused during the 90s nu metal trend, or lyrics about masturbation. And if you've heard the album, you'll know where I'm going with this.
 You see, that is the one downfall of the album. It is a major downfall, that comes in the form of the song Wannabe. Originally intended to feature a cameo appearance from rap superstar, Snoop Dogg, this is a horrendous and non suiting track from the group. Using the phrase "Wannabe" could have been a cool way to connect to a more youthful audience, however it's not 1999 so the desired effect has been failed upon. Maybe ROFL might have been a better idea for a title. After the Snoop Dogg appearance was scrapped, the song basically sees Lewis putting on two different sets of vocals, making the song sound like an awkward version of Korn's All In the Family. It's pretty horrendous and really shows that Staind should stick to what they do best.
 All in all, Staind does do a pretty good job of showing the group making a relentlessly heavy and aggressive grunge sound, which does manage to stir up genuine emotion and really shows the group to be much more talented and worthy of approval than critics would have you believe. It's certainly worth a listen, just... just skip track four. It's for the best that you do.

 Staind's self titled seventh album is out now via Roadrunner.

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