Queens of the Stone Age
Villains


3.5
great

Review

by Simon STAFF
August 25th, 2017 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Villains to the fans, or pushing the envelope?

Though there is the odd polarizing opinion on some of QOTSA’s albums, by and large they’ve got a very strong, universally agreed, catalogue which taps into many different styles of rock music. But if I was to really point out a highlight from the band, it’d be 2013’s …Like Clockwork; a real milestone record and one that contained some of the groups darkest moments, both sonically and lyrically. At a time where Homme was going through some trials and tribulations, there was a level of suffering which poured into the record and became a core ingredient for the LP, one which made the album stand out so much. So, after a fruitful success with …Like Clockwork, the tension building up to this album was on the fringe of rupturing; a little bit of worry, given the band’s open description of it being “more upbeat”, coupled with its producer, one, Mark Ronson, better known for producing massive pop hits with Robbie Williams, Adele and Lady Gaga, to name but a few. And given the singles that have dropped, it was hard to determine where Villains was going to end up on the sonic spectrum.

Thankfully, Villains isn’t the train-wreck many were pinning it as being. Though it has a couple of dips in quality, it is still a very enjoyable album. Album opener “Feet Don’t Fail Me now” is up there with “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” as the best song opener to an album, their entire career; starting off as a crescendo building epic, before smashing into a sound bathing in Led Zeppelin groove, presented with a full-of-life sound that still has Queens at the heart of it all. It delivers as a great song with all the hallmarks the band have used in the past, but gives its listener a taster of what’s to come: a cheeky wink and a cool swagger. Villains has a heavy focus on punchy grooves – more so than ever before – the bass is very prominent throughout, using an arsenal of slides and staccato notes to make songs bouncy and effective, it’s impossible to sit still for long; while guitars focus on painting moody atmospherics. “Domesticated Animals” proves the former statement, “Fortress” backs up the latter, with its dark and grandiose introduction, teaming up with Homme’s melancholic vocal performance. It’s an album that blends the band’s moody passages with a new kind of pop style, and for the most part it works.

Other highlights come from “The Evil Has Landed”, similar to “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”, for its Zeppelin-like framework and fuzzy guitars, while the album closer, “Villains of Circumstance”, finishes the album off in a low-tempo fashion: brooding and unsettling, with a touch of experimentation, this track builds with the intension of releasing a catharsis found in some great melodies and ending with an energetic explosion; it’s a great way to end this 9-track LP. The problems lie in the mid-section of the album, which struggle to maintain a high-level of interest: “Head Like A Haunted House” showcases a high-octane, punk energy, but is ultimately dull, while “Un-Reborn Again” and “Hideaway” lack a great deal of anything to make even a 1/3 of the songs interesting. However, despite these tracks and the initial worry before release, Villains is far from a failure, it has an awesome emphasis on melody and groove, and these qualities see the album far. Its production works well and by the end of it you’ll definitely want to give it another go.

Great.

EDITIONS: C̶D̶//DIGITAL//V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION: Various vinyl variants and cover alternatives.



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user ratings (1023)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
BlackwaterPork
August 25th 2017


4390 Comments


fantastic review

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2017


15628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers man. Didn't want to do one, since Butchers review was great, but I had an overwhelming urge to have my say. haha

Digging: Chelsea Wolfe - Birth of Violence

butcherboy
August 25th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

fantastic, succinct review, Gonzo! glad you're hear to pull up the more positive end..

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2017


15628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers buddy. Kinda like the diverse review scores so far. It's going to be an interesting one.

butcherboy
August 25th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

yea, I think after the actual release date, there'll be plenty of interesting reviews and takes pouring in!

EvoHavok
August 25th 2017


7696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Digging the album a lot. Sweet review, Gonzo!

Man, what a gem that opener is.

Archelirion
August 25th 2017


5786 Comments


It's nice reading all the different opinions on this one - lots of different perspectives to go on. Still think I'm gonna find this one a little disappointing, although I'd much rather take your perspective on it so fingers crossed!

Good review btw :]

Valkoor952
August 25th 2017


2748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, however I don't agree with Un-Reborn Again and Hideaway being dull.

wwf
August 25th 2017


6403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty stoked to listen to this

bloc
August 25th 2017


57518 Comments


Commenting on all Villains threads to keep up

Digging: Orphaned Land - El Norra Alila

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2017


16739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They coming faster than brand new reviews

SirDrumsalot
August 25th 2017


1833 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First listen... LOVED the first half.

Needs a few more listens...

Aerisavion
August 25th 2017


1702 Comments


'They coming faster than brand new reviews'

Tell me about it haha

Aerisavion
August 25th 2017


1702 Comments


We're literally going to end up with four different QOTSA - Villains reviews featured at this rate (;

supremejelly
August 25th 2017


1119 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just a nitpick, but I think the sentence starting with "Other highlights come from.." could've been the start of a new paragraph. Really good review though

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 25th 2017


15023 Comments


i couldn't do it

Ikarus14
August 25th 2017


1358 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I picked up the vinyl today and I thought it was pretty solid. It's hard to top Clockwork when that album set the bar so high, but going for something more simple and laid back was a pretty ballsy choice I guess. I'll definitely have the digital download I got with it playing on repeat for a good while.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2017


15628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers guys.



@supremejelly



I was debating that before I posted the review, but I've just shifted it to a third paragraph, and you're right, it works nicer. Thanks man.

Tunaboy45
August 26th 2017


16784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review as always man, I feel like this will be a grower for a lot of people.

BigPleb
August 26th 2017


59789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fortress is one of their best songs ever.



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