Sept. 2, 2002 - Hot Songs for the Deaf Review
by Hannah Hamilton
Although not quite so instantaneously throat-grabbing as some of their more infamous releases (‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ being an obvious example), the ironically titled Songs for the Deaf takes a slightly less trodden direction than it’s predecessor Rated R: still as cacophonous, rampantly bass-heavy and gut wrenching as you’d expect, but without the polish. Not that they ever had much polish anyway – for all their popularity, this is most certainly not a pop band.

With a line-up less stable than Cartman on stilts, the core of ex-Kyuss members Homme and Oliveri has been fluffed out with the likes of Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan as well as rock God Dave Grohl, who filled the drum stool for two months throughout their summer tour.

The overtly ska-punk intro is continued through the guitarlines of the blistering ‘No One Knows’, which features Grohl on drums and Homme on vocals whilst ‘Hangin’ Tree’, a personal fave, screams feedback, unsettled drums and a lullaby guitar line, laced with the low end vibrato of Mark Lanegan on mic duties.

Produced by Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Joe Satriani), Songs for the Deaf represents a watershed in modern rock, heralding the return of dirty distortions and power-laden rhythms. Nu metal, my friends, is but a distant memory. So, Songs for the Deaf: definitely a grower, but worth the wait.

10 out of 12

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