August 14, 2000 - Dot Music: Rated R review
by Josh Rogan
Formed from the ashes of seminal Californian desert rockers Kyuss, the Queens of the Stone Age have been festering just beneath the surface of the US underground for some time. The brainchild of Josh Homme and his partner Nick Oliveri (a man so depraved that he was thrown out of outrageous sleaziod Seattle punkers the Dwarves for behaving a little too badly), the Queens provide the ultimate rock 'n' roll antidote to the current glut of crass, phony frat house punks and doom-laden electro goths. Dubbed, much to their disdain, Stoner Rock due to their drug-addled mixture of filthy riffs, diseased pop and twisted psychedelia, this their major label debut features eleven stunning, often brutal reasons why the term should be buried for good.

Now being mentioned in the same breath as past legendary misfits, the Stooges and Nirvana, the Queens have produced one of the finest rock albums in recent memory. From the second the first chord is struck it's clear that they mean business. A ferocious, downright dirty roar, 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' is essentially a shopping list for the most debauched and totally depraved evening imaginable. The good doctor Homme and his colleagues deliver their prescription of "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodan, Marijuana, Ecstacy and Alcohol," and a final dose of "C-C-C-C-Cocaine" with fervent purpose and amoral intent. Two and half minutes, two chords, the aforementioned mantra and its all over. Stoner Rock? Do me a favour.

As the album unfolds in all its glory it soon becomes apparent that they are by no means a one trick pony. The sleazy, nicotine stained pop of recent single 'The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret', a brooding mixture of dark, scuzzy riffs and even darker humour, rubs shoulders easily with the acoustic psychedelia of 'Auto Pilot'.

When Oliveri takes over the vocal duties on 'Tension Head' and 'Quick And To The Pointless', he does so like a man who's very soul is on fire, posessed by demons that cause him to howl at the moon. The latter sounding as though Toni Basil and her "Hey Mickey" crew have been thoroughly corrupted and roped into performing backing vocals for the cast of Mad Max 2.

Ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan features throughout providing his own signature brand of bourbon-ravaged backing vocals. However when he takes centre stage on the magnificent, uplifting 'In The Fade', with it's swirling skunk rush of a chorus, it's as though he's found his spiritual home.

An eclectic, exhilarating, guilt-free collection of no-nonsense good-time rock 'n' roll, oozing punk attitude and featuring some of the largest guitar riffs ever recorded, 'Rated-R' surprises as much as it inspires, (check the abstract, jazzy horns featured in the epic finale 'I Think I Lost My Headache'). The soundtrack to the hardest, most polluted night out and subsequent hangover, this certainly isn't for the faint-hearted but is, as a result, absolutely essential.

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