Queens of the Stone Age
Era Vulgaris


3.5
great

Review

by Porter W. Richards USER (18 Reviews)
January 9th, 2008 | 13 replies | 3,705 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Era Vulgaris is like a really good fake diamond on first glance; after a few minutes of admiring it, you realize it's not amazing, but still great.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Joshua Homme, the mastermind behind of the critically-acclaimed band Queens of the Stone Age, knows that you can’t survive for your whole career riding the same sound throughout your band's lifespan. Sure, if Homme produced another Songs for the Deaf the band may be international rock stars; but for musical integrity, you’ve got to grow amongst yourself and produce solid new sounds with each new album and consistently push the boundaries. With the departure of the bassist Nick Oliveri, the band's revolving door of members continued, but Homme’s visionary musical style was still in tact, and Lullabies to Paralyze, the follow-up to the hugely successful Songs for the Deaf proves that Queens of the Stone Age will guarantee you an album unlike anything ever released before.

Despite the label ‘stoner rock’, the band is at heart a Psychedelic Hard Rock band. The music is heavy, crunchy, and dark. The messy, and confusing Lullabies to Paralyze was the transition record, moving away from the perfected mainstream sound of Rated R and Songs for the Deaf, in favor for a disturbing, dark, and overcomingly bleak psychedelic atmosphere. Each song pounds the guitar to the floor and makes sound effects with Homme’s guitar that guitar mastermind Tom Morello hasn’t yet grasped. It’s a very ‘crunchy’ sounding guitar-driven rock record that sounds very much like a rock-hard live album as you listen to Homme pound on his guitar’s tremolo bar and strum the chords on his guitar, breaking down into some truly amazing riffs and solos. While the band has taken a strong turn away from the mainstream, the band pushes forward towards a more experimental, progressive side of their genre and sound. This is what Homme was trying to perfect with Lullabies to Paralyze, the band’s definite transition record.

Homme’s songwriting skills are at a high on this album-each song has his traditional cynical, comedic lyrical style mixed with some astonishing, technical riffs that quickly shifts into Homme’s stand-out choruses and solos. This makes the songs on Era Vulgaris fast, sudden, and harsh yet melodic; showing their mainstream mentality while keeping their resurgence to more experimental sides of the spectrum. Where Lullabies to Paralyze was tough and tightly-wound, this album is loose and very vibrantly dark (if that’s possible). Some songs have a very flamboyant feel to them and set off psychedelic colors in your mind like Turnin’ on the Screw and Sick, Sick, Sick while some quietly dull you off to sleep and take you towards ultimate night-driving tracks like the rhythmic and moving Make it With Chu and the beat-driven Suture Up Your Future. Or the random brilliance of tracks like the equally odd but fun I’m Designer and Battery Acid also makes the album seem a dulled brilliance sparked by Homme’s unorthodox song structures.

Unfortunately, Era Vulgaris is quite far from perfect. It’s great and a step up from the transition record Lullabies to Paralyze, but the album dies fairly quickly after the fun, enjoyable wankery of 3’s & 7’s. Suture Up Your Future is a good night-driving, rhythmic track, but really doesn’t have a climax or at least get interesting, and feels quite boring. River in the Road goes nowhere just like Suture Up Your Future and is an overwhelmingly haunting, messy, and complete overdose of the Era Vulgaris psychedelia. And for the most part, Run Pig Run seems to be a test of how much sound you can tolerate without going mad; Homme wails quietly over heavy distorted, shifting and crunchy guitars into a track that seems to have no rhyme nor reason; no better than a filler track. Needless to say, the album doesn’t end ‘with a bang’, just ends ‘with a lot of noise’.

The album itself features a worthwhile listen of astonishingly great tracks, crunchy and highly addicting; just it lags a bit at the end. There’s not enough to keep me interested after 3’s and 7’s, and that just kills the flow Era Vulgaris had going. At the core though, it’s a dark, flashy, and psychedelic work of art that yields a new ‘Era’ of creativity for Homme, as showcased by the multitude of excellent B-Sides, one of which is amazing (the title track). The crunchy, rough, and edgy style showcases a band with creativity and ready to grace the world with excellent originality and talent. All in all, Era Vulgaris is close to excellence with about eight amazing tracks, but unfortunately becomes irritating at the end and loses all of it’s momentum by the end. At the end of the day, rock fans of all ages and Queens fans alike can’t afford to pass up Era Vulgaris.



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user ratings (1599)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Mikey Graves (3.5)
    With an obvious shift in energy, QOTSA give us on a ride on weird side. Dark, dank, and di...

    Maximilian Harkness (3)
    Don’t expect anything like Rated R ever again, if you do you’ll be disappointed. If yo...

    tcaporale (4)
    Like always, QOTSA bring the rock even without Olivieri or Lanegan, and provides a showcas...

    Josh Bowers (4)
    Era Vulgaris is a gem, but with multiple listens needed to enjoy Era Vulgaris and the feel...

  • Cubert99 (4.5)
    Queens Of The Stone age have brought sexy back....

    Nick Butler EMERITUS (1.5)
    Five albums into their career, this fan feels that QOTSA have hit a brick wall. Hard....

    Mike Stagno EMERITUS (3.5)
    With Era Vulgaris, Queens of the Stone Age once again deliver a solid slab of alternative ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2008



15727 Comments


Your first paragraph has a lot of problems. That last sentence is a terrible run on, and that first sentence could use some fixing (use the word "career" less).

critical-acclaimed

the band revolving door of band members continued



Each song pounds the guitar to the floor and makes sound effects with Homme’s guitar that guitar mastermind Tom Morello hasn’t yet mastered


Try to use some different words instead of guitar and master.

Proof-read this and edit, until then, I won't neg.This Message Edited On 01.09.08

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 9th 2008



3743 Comments


The last three paragraphs were pretty good, but the two first paragraphs made my eyes bleed.

MoonlightBleeding
January 9th 2008



452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I edited parts of the review.

McP3000
January 9th 2008



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Meh on the album

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 9th 2008



3743 Comments


It's a lot better now, I'll vote.

VicariousIntent
January 9th 2008



1593 Comments


Finally a review of this I agree with. It's not great, it doesn't suck...it's good. It has it's moments. I enjoy a straightforward rocker sometimes man, this is good for that. Nice review.

jason_f90
January 9th 2008



203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sick Sick Sick = Shit Shit Shit

Love the other 2 singles though. :]

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2008



15727 Comments


Finally a review of this I agree with.


There's another 3.5 review...

I love Sick Sick Sick honestly, no matter how dumb it is, but haven't heard anything else off this.

Also, joshuatree is right, this is better.This Message Edited On 01.09.08

VicariousIntent
January 9th 2008



1593 Comments


Oh snap, I missed that one. Good review anyway :P

cometuesday
January 10th 2008



959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The second paragraph still feels a little redundant to me, but I didn't see it before though so I don't know what was changed.
This is my least favorite of all their releases.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2008



15727 Comments


[quote=1st draft]Each song pounds the guitar to the floor and makes sound effects with Homme’s guitar that guitar mastermind Tom Morello hasn’t yet mastered[/quote]
That was what was wrong with it

itachi1452
January 14th 2008



366 Comments


the only track i've heard off of this album is sick, sick, sick, but i hold a ton of respect for queens of the stone age, since they're one of those bands that will always receive mass critical acclaim (just like muse). personally, i loved lullabies to paralyze. nice review. i first heard sick, sick, sick on mtv (not proud of it), but it did stick out compared to the other crap that was being played. This Message Edited On 01.14.08

Underachiever
March 19th 2009



150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For some reason I really love 'Run Pig Run'. Battery acid is another great song. Sick sick sick was not that good, but not terrible. Otherwise a pretty awesome album with a good review.



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