Staind – Staind review

American rock band, Staind, has returned to the music scene with their seventh self-titled album since their inception in 1995. Released on September 13, 2011 through Atlantic Records, “Staind” marks the reemergence of the band’s return to the heavy, gritty sound which defined the commercial success of previous albums, “Dysfunction” in 1999, and “Break the Cycle” in 2001.

Although some may be alarmed by the roaring vocals by leading frontman, Aaron Lewis, Staind impressively presents their musical ability through the belligerently stroked stringed instruments and maintains a harmonious balance between melody and aggression. On the opening track, “Eyes Wide Open”, the humming chords of a guitar are heard, then met by the beating of drums before being engulfed in an all-out chaotic, yet well-executed arrangement of instrumentation. Furthermore, throughout the sea of harmonious noise, Lewis jumps back and forth from passively to violently crooning the lyrics; “Is compromise something you don’t understand?/ You force your hand, but my eyes are wide open/Caught in the web of your self-serving plan/Don’t force my hand when my eyes are wide open,” thereby demonstrating their lyrical ability.

The group’s first single, “Not Again,” follows the same formula of the aforementioned track, yet is a bit more calm… at least until Lewis breaks out right before the chorus in which he sings, “Not again, no taste for the crow you feed me/ Not again, it’s not a matter of if I care.” Everything seems to come together perfectly in Staind’s latest compilation, however the process was the complete opposite as Lewis and lead guitarist, Mike Mushok, were barely on speaking terms and longtime drummer, Jon Wysocki, called it quits immediately following recording. How they were able to pull off such a nostalgic album and deliver the original Staind package is beyond me, but fans should be pleased as that grunge that they love so much is captured and apparent on “Throw It All Away.”

Perhaps the dissension that infiltrated the rock band’s process contributed to much of the emotion and hostility that is present on the ten-track album, but truthfully I can surmise that the next time I have a friend who is saddened or angered by a recent breakup, this will be the album I tell them to belt their hearts out to.

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