Queens of the Stone Age

Era Vulgaris (Interscope)

Phases & Stages

Queens of the Stone Age

Era Vulgaris (Interscope)

Following the firing of mainstay bassist Nick Oliveri after 2002's near perfect Songs for the Deaf, whose stellar supporting cast included Dean Ween, Dave Grohl, and the chimney-smoke croon of Mark Lanegan, last Queen standing Josh Homme dominated 2005's ghostly Lullabies to Paralyze, a reintroduction of sorts to the band's eponymous debut. With fifth full-length Era Vulgaris, like 2000's R, QOTSA purposely break the mold, mindlessly flirting with disaster but never letting it sink in. The monolithic march of "Sick, Sick, Sick" is the new feel-good hit of the summer, and Homme's trademark guitar pyrotechnics and arrogance brand "I'm Designer" and "Run, Pig, Run." The sensual "Make It Wit Chu" and falsetto-laced "Into the Hollow" burn like late-night Desert Sessions. Opener "Turnin' on the Screw" recalls guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen's Failure, while the voltaic discharge from "Battery Acid" oozes the Cramps. This time around things are more industrial and complex but every bit as sleazy and intoxicating.

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