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The most obvious quality about the new Staind record is that it’s the hardest and most aggressive record that the band has made in years. From start to finish this is the thickest and boldest Staind record since the “Mudshovel” days. It might even be more aggressive than “Dysfunction”. Right from the start, the guitars are off and blazing and the heaviness is right at the front… more than it’s been in years. The only thing more impressive than the thickness of the music is Aaron Lewis’ voice here. Despite making a country record by himself, he shows off what got him here. He wails, he yells, he screams, and he sings great melodies on this album. What he was able to do vocally here is very extraordinary. His vocals are great, but the band does lose some serious points for “Wannabe”, it’s a track screaming at the band’s critics and detractors and it sucks. It talks about selling records among other things… it’s meant to be a strong message to those people but for the most part it comes off as fickle and misguided. That song almost brings down a great record. Regardless, look out for some heavy active rock and alternative chart work from Staind with this album and don’t be surprised if “Something to Remind You” finds some way to radio. It’s a ballad and that’s kind of the opposite of what this album is meant to be, but it still could happen. It seems like that’s a trait a Staind record can’t avoid. This Staind album is one of my favorite records that the band has made in years; it’s the band in a different spot in their career trying to get out of recent habits. The pressure from the band and oustide source to make this record really paid off. It’s not Staind at its best but its pretty close.


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