It’s album number seven for Staind and the band have decided to go for the throats and revisit their roots meaning Staind is a pummeling beast of an album in the vein of Tormented and Dysfunction.  No joke. No lie. When they said they were going in a heavier direction for their latest, they weren’t lying.

First thing long time fans will notice is what an angry record this is. It really seems like singer Aaron Lewis consciously made an effort to scream at least once on each of Staind’s 10 tracks. I cannot believe how unbelievably heavy this album. The thing that makes it so special is the way that Lewis balances brutality with serenity throughout. Take songs like “The Bottom” or “Paper Wings” for example. The former especially is a sonically aggressive dirge but Lewis’ melodic vocals float to the top. The latter is just nasty as Lewis spews forth vitriol and guitarist Mike Mushok lays a crunch on so thick until the pre-chorus, pained as it may be, takes “Wings” somewhere else.

Bringing the nu-metal back full swing in the most unexpected-yet-unbelievably fun “Wannabe”, Lewis actually raps here spitting lines like “I’m sellin’ records/What is it  that you do?/Sittin’ in your mama’s basement with a shiatsu/Peanut Butter on your dick/Right hand going click” a la the Durst and the Davis on Korn’s “All In The Family”. Yeah, I know. But it works and it also shows that Staind are willing to let their guard down and not take themselves so seriously.

Staind reassures fans that these MA natives are much more than a power-ballad band and that there was a reason they’ve survived (Successfully I might add) as long as they have in the post-nu-metal age. This album is also noteworthy as it is the last to feature original drummer Jon Wysocki. If this is the last thing he’ll ever do with Staind, he should be very proud.

Staind is out now.

Rating: A

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