Staind, ‘Staind’ – Album Review
For their seventh studio album, Staind decided to self-title the effort. That's not unintentional, as the band has returned to the grittier, bottom-heavy, down-tuned sound that defined its commercial breakthroughs, 1999's 'Dysfunction' and 2001's 'Break the Cycle.'
Even though the album has a dirtier sound, Staind have not lost their ability to craft memorably grungey songs that also sound good when cranked on the FM dial. They've managed to keep the balance between aggro and melodic.
What's more impressive, though, is the fact that the band churned out solid songs during a recording session fraught with tension. Singer Aaron Lewis recently admitted that he and guitarist Mike Mushok were barely on speaking terms during the process, while longtime drummer Jon Wysocki split after recording wrapped. To say that getting this album done was a difficult experience would be like calling a tsunami a "rogue wave."
The first single 'Not Again' and 'Failing' are head-down, grunge-tastic songs. They're moody, gloomy and very Staind. The band has always explored the darker side of life and Lewis continues to work out personal dilemmas playing out in his head through his lyrics. The man can sing and has one of the largest voices in hard rock and because of that, Staind's music has always packed that dual punch.
'Throw It All Away' starts out slow but a gloomy current runs through the song. It's what you expect from Staind. There's no dramatic left turn and no creative curve balls on 'Staind,' so if you are expecting that, you'll be disappointed. If you want more of the band's signature sound, then you will be beyond satisfied, because that's exactly what the band doles out.
'Take a Breath' is fierce enough to get the mosh pit going, thanks to its guitar squealing, ominous drum tones and its rising action vibe. The band has crafted a vibe on this song that'll have you wondering when the bottom will drop out. And it does, rattling you as you listen to it.
'Now' is the most radio friendly song on the record, but it's certainly not soft. It's just got more of those sonic peaks and valleys that play well over the airwaves. The album closes with 'Something to Remind You,' which is a big ballad.
Overall, 'Staind' is comprised of 10 tracks. It's compact and there's no filler. Each song carries its own weight and won't have you hitting the skip button. The album doesn't overstay its welcome by being too long, either. It's quality over quantity here. Staind dipped into their past and still came up with a modern, fresh record. Staind fans will not be disappointed.