Queens of the Stone Age
Era Vulgaris


3.5
great

Review

by Mikey Graves USER (3 Reviews)
March 20th, 2013 | 11 replies | 1,130 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With an obvious shift in energy, QOTSA give us on a ride on weird side. Dark, dank, and dirty are the key words here. Long-time fans may balk at the strange, new noise, but ultimately there is some great songwriting beneath the veil.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Queens of the Stone Age have always had one thing on their side, that being their willingness to get their groove on. A sort of cartoonish, macabre groove for sure, but one that always gets your foot tapping. Sometimes head banging, particularly live. This album marks what could be a new direction for the band. One not as focused on getting your hips moving; it has more cerebral things in mind. But side effects include a blurry vision that can often leave the listener disoriented. And QOTSA probably prefers it that way.

Era Vulgaris begins with what sounds like a euphoric acid trip. But panning fuzz-drenched guitars and shifting tempos aside, things sound pretty normal. Almost too normal. Things immediately take a plunge into a darker, sweatier territory just as you start to think it's run it's course. 'Sick, Sick, Sick' gets some dissonant treatment from Julian Casablanas of The Strokes, and gives a perfect compliment to Josh Homme, who sounds at his most expressive as a front man.

Soon however, dissociative feelings take over. The heart of the album slows down. It's not insincere; just distant. Maybe the filtering of the instruments, whatever layers of production are put into the various bells and whistles... something isn't missing, it's just covered up. This can be slightly alienating for fans of their more direct, previous work. However, the concentrated, 10-month long recording process resulted in some great art. 'Battery Acid,' and I'm Designer,' see humor meet grit in their by now signature style, just with a more sickly charm. It's not as fast, so maybe not quite as fun for some, but you simply can't dance with an IV in your arm. Words can hardly describe the mysterious 'Into the Hollow,' but its a good example of the slow creep the band is feeling.

'3's & 7's' picks up the pace for a wake up call, with the whole band letting loose for the first time since the beginning of the trip. This is necessary, because it is also preceded by the overwhelmingly chill 'Make it Wit' Chu.' It's a a desert love jam that feels strangely out of place compared to the rest of the album.

What may be the best song on the album, the nearly heartbroken, stoner epic 'Suture Up Your Future,' contains some soul baring lyrics, sung with more conviction than ever by Josh.

"I'm not jaded, I just hate it. See I been down too long, it's kind of hard to explain, burn and buried all I carried..."

Longtime fans will recognize a more genuine tone that's been hinted at in previous excursions, but was rarely the center of attention ('I Never Came', 'In the Fade').

But it's still unclear. By the end of the album you still feel as if you're on a morphine drip waiting for someone to lower the dose. As 'River in the Road' fades into 'Run, Pig, Run,' some relief does come seeping in. Joey Castillo's drumming sends a tribal jolt of energy through the listener, almost chemically lulled to sleep at this point. For anyone who was still wondering whether or not they chose the right guy to fill the shoes of Dave Grohl and keep walking, they did. The drums death-march the song to one last distressed guitar tone, ending the album in abrupt suspense.

In review, the awkwardness of it all trying to fit together can be frustrating. Some moments seem to drone, and not in the way the previous records did it. Due to the blurred vision, some ideas come out half baked or... straight up baked, again like 'Into the Hollow.' Many inspired ideas reach up for their potential and then disappear like hallucinations. But it's all an acquired taste; it's a lot like those green olives. Salty, sultry and often seen with alcohol at strange parties.

An album that offers no easy answers, Era Vulgaris succeeds in making something unique. It doesn't ask to be understood, only to be taken for what it is. I'd try it a few times recreationally and decide for yourself.


user ratings (1619)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • 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...

    Porter W. Richards (3.5)
    Era Vulgaris is like a really good fake diamond on first glance; after a few minutes of ad...

  • 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 
XingKing
March 20th 2013



10456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It took me years to appreciate this album, but I really like it now. I absolutely loathed it when it came out. I've found most of the tracks on here sound better live because they get rid of some of the unnecessary effects and have a lot more energy. I especially love Misfit Love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYw0KhwXdAY

evilford
March 20th 2013



22382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ok review, closing paragraph is little awkward but not bad besides that

yeah this is their worst but still p cool

Digging: Afflicted - Prodigal Sun

evilford
March 20th 2013



22382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ftr I did not neg you that was someone else I guess

NapalmCrusader
March 20th 2013



1737 Comments


Not bad, but a big part of the material of QOSTA and Kyuss is far better than this

profoundword
March 20th 2013



239 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Meh, this album has its moments but is just not as cool as the early stuff or as creative as lullabies imo. Dece review though dude, gonna go jam lullabies now

StarvingArtist
March 20th 2013



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha I won't sweat the negs, no biggie :P

DrGonzo1937
March 20th 2013



5553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Remember hating this when it first came out, it's grown on me a heap since. Miles better than Lullabies to Paralyze regardless.

bloc
March 20th 2013



34780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Underrated album but I hope the new QOTSA isn't too much like this

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

DrGonzo1937
March 20th 2013



5553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The new album will be west as fuck. I can't wait.

InbredJed
March 20th 2013



5790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It took me awhile to come around to this album, and although its not their best, for some reason, its the one I enjoy listening to most often.

good review choice, have a pos!

Digging: Backyard Mortuary - Lure of the Occult

InbredJed
March 20th 2013



5790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Xing is right, best enjoyed live



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