Surely by now, you've at least heard of Staind at one point or another. After the release of Break the Cycle
, their single, "It's Been Awhile," flooded the airwaves of every medium imaginable, until you had to lock yourself in a dark hole to rid yourself of the melody stuck in your head. Something about that power ballad just screamed "listen to me!" This was the newest incarnation of the growing nu-metal genre at the time. It had the heavy guitars, and the dark, depressed lyrics spouted off by some borderline whiny vocals. Despite such poor accomplishments of other nu-metal establishments, Staind actually make a fairly good record here.
The instrumentation is surprisingly good, considering the circumstances. Performances from all the band members are top notch. Guitar riffs come from the direction of Mike Mushok and are distorted and heavy, in the true angry music way. The bass usually isn't audible enough to criticize it, but when it's there, does a good enough job. Drums are especially well done, while still fitting the music. This isn't to say that are predictably metal, as it's quite the opposite. They're a unique asset to the music and help it not corform to nu-metal mediocrity. Vocals are, once again, fairly well done, even though they occasionally dip into whiny territory. It's forgivable though, as they sound good much more often than not. The gentle Outside
features a pretty decent vocal performance, as his cigarette scratched voice deeply croons along. Lyrics are more or less in angsty "I'm sad/I hate my life" fashion, especially in For You
, which is complete with a chunky riff and parent-directed anger. Waste
is a ballad-type song, about a fan who killed himself, whereas It's Been Awhile
is a full on power-ballad, centered on some sort of significant other and how much Aaron misses them. It just wouldn't be a Staind album without the faced-paced angry songs, and this is no exception, Can't Believe
being a fairly forgettable romp into loud shouting territory.
Overall, this isn't too bad of a record. Everything you'd expect out of something good is here. It's got good guitars, good drums, and fairly good vocals. The songs are catchy, and easy to listen to, as well. They've sort of taken the nu-metal sound and made it more commercial, while making it not suck at the same time. Kudos for that, and boo for 14 Shades of Grey
. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Anywho, this is worth a listen for those who enjoy heavier rock. It should suit your needs. It's not mind-blowing, but good enough to suffice.