Aug. 27, 2002 - CDNow: Songs for the Deaf Review
by Dana Buoniconti
If Queens of the Stone Age were a military maneuver, they might very well be Operation Desert Storm, whipping into battle to eradicate from the airwaves all the nu-metal pretenders. Led by co-generals Josh Homme (vocals, guitar) and Nick Oliveri (bass, vocals), QotSA, with Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan in the ever-changing ranks, sustains a bludgeoning musical ferocity on the majority of its third album.

Much of QotSA's appeal lies in the band's ability to juxtapose huff-and-puff stoner-Sabbath chug with Homme's harmony-friendly falsetto. Propelled by Grohl's precise, lock step drumming, "No One Knows" and "First It Giveth" throttle like well-oiled war machines; "Song for the Deaf," reminiscent of Tool's savagery, writhes with sick guitar harmonies and freakish screams; and when Lanegan contributes his smoke-and-who-knows-what-else-ravaged voice to "Hanging Tree," the shadow of death looms large.

While Songs for the Deaf isn't quite the classic that QotSA's self-titled debut is, and while there's nothing on it quite as euphoric as "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" (from the band's second album, Rated R), it does refine QotSA's ability to get downright bizarre: the album's hidden track, "Mosquito Song," is a baroque gypsy-meets-acoustic-Zeppelin tune replete with piano, strings, horns, and accordion that reveals a wonderfully wicked sense of humor.

Like Uncle Sam, QotSA want to enlist you in its army. For fans of the rawk, after listening to Songs for the Deaf, it's tough to resist the call.

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