2000 - Rough Edge.com: Rated R Review
by Christopher J. Kelter
Anger-free, rap-free heavy rock! I am rejoicing with utter glee! "Rated R" is less accessible than Queens Of The Stone Age's debut, but it is just as enjoyable. If you’re expecting the booming desert sludge of Kyuss you’d better break out "Wretch" and pretend the late '90s never happened.

QOTSA are continuing down the golden path of a more song-oriented approach with stripped down guitar parts, simple beats, and trance-like repetition in the rhythms and melodies. Singles like "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret" and "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" have actually managed to secure airplay on some radio stations across the United States.

The immediate appeal of QOTSA, however, has really taken off in England, Australia, and New Zealand. This appeal reveals itself in many different ways. Somehow the U.S.A needs to catch up. Nick Oliveri, full of confidence from his stint fronting Mondo Generator, gives Homme a breather and tackles lead vocals on "Auto Pilot," "Tension Head," and "Quick And To The Pointless." Songs like "Better Living Through Chemistry" and "In The Fade" (with Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan taking the lead vocal duties) are the tracks that really make my ears take notice – there’s a level of creativity heard on these songs unlike anything I’ve ever heard from QOTSA's earlier effort or Kyuss' entire history. The flow of the material smacks of swagger, yet still retains and effortless and timeless feel that is so hard to achieve. There are many flat out rockers ("Monsters In The Parasol" being a prime example) that have appeal in spades. Only the disc-ending "I Think I Lost My Headache" approaches epic Kyuss-like length, but even it contains a twisted ending that Kyuss wasn’t capable of pulling off.

The eleven tracks here may not seem like much, but an open mind will appreciate the 'less-is-more' approach that QOTSA have taken with "Rated R."

Queens Of The Stone Age: Josh Homme on guitar and Nick Oliveri on bass. It seems like just about the entire world sings, plays drums, or otherwise contributes to “Rated R.” Contributors included, but are not limited to, Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality), Mike Johnson, Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), Dave Catching (Ringling Sisters), Nick Lucero, and Gene Trautman (Miracle Workers).

3 out of four

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