Queens of the Stone Age's "...Like Clockwork"
Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) is an American Rock band formed around 1996. When lead singer Josh Homme left Kyuss to form QOTSA, he brought with him elements of Kyuss'stoner rock, helping them to create their own style of riff-oriented, heavy rock music. ...Like Clockwork is much slower and sadder than their previous albums, probably their dreariest release yet. They usually combine many different styles of rock, sometimes described as hard rock, alternative, psychedelic, and even heavy metal, and fuses them all together to create their own unique and recognizable sound.
QOTSA brings in some hard, distorted guitar riffs and passionate vocals that really separate them from other alternative rock groups of our time. Even as a radio-friendly band with some catchy tunes, QOTSA hasn't compromised their musical aggressiveness and with fantastic riffs, melodies, and choruses. They remain hard as heck while still appealing to the general audience and keeping their accessibility.
As I said, ...Like Clockwork is easily one of the band's dreariest albums, not really going for that balance they had in their previous albums. Instead of being aggressive and incredibly catchy, QOTSA has become a bit more moody and incredibly catchy. There are some slower songs with piano tunes, softer intros, variations from really loud to really soft, a lot more focus on melody, and vocals that are a lot more pained and emotional.
Songs like "The Vampyre of Time and Memory," "Kalopsia," "I Appear Missing," and "...Like Clockwork" are probably the slowest and saddest sounding tracks in the album. Other tracks like "I Sat By The Ocean" and "Smooth Sailing" are not necessarily upbeat, but happier sounding in the riffs and drums. I felt that the first track, "Keep Your Eyes Peeled," was a really good opening to this album, featuring heavy and distorted bass and a slow, moody rhythm. Even though it set the tone for what's to come, I didn't really like how it transitioned into the next track, "I Sat By The Ocean." It went from this slow and dreary rhythm to this sort of "generic," simple, happier track that I don't believe flows very well. I wasn't a fan of the abrupt tone shift, which caught me off guard the first time I listened to it.
My favorite tracks in this album have to be "Keep Your Eyes Peeled," "My God Is The Sun," "I Appear Missing," and "...Like Clockwork." "My God Is The Sun" has a fantastic intro with really heavy, aggressive riffs and drums that I love. I like the tone of the guitars that are playing and how it goes from a lower pitch to the high, fast pitched strums when Homme is singing, and his nice falsetto voice towards the end when it slows down a bit.
On "I Appear Missing," I absolutely love the introduction with the loosely picked, slightly echoey guitars, and how it transitions into the same strumming pattern but with a heavier, louder, and more distorted tone when Homme starts singing loudly. The guitars really do weigh heavily on the heart, and it's just so impactful. I also really like Homme's falsetto voice that gives a soulful feeling to the song. There's also a bit of an interlude near the middle of the track where it goes a bit into some really tense drum work and wailing guitars. A bit random, but great nonetheless.
The closing track, "...Like Clockwork," features Homme singing in a falsetto voice on another piano ballad similar to "The Vampyre of Time and Memory," except for a much longer time. Very slow and dramatic with some weeping guitars and a very nice and epic buildup toward the middle and end. Such a fantastic, dramatic closing to the album, with great lyrics as well.
The Bottom Line
Overall I really enjoyed this album. There's a good amount of variety to keep anyone entertained, featuring excellent songwriting, fantastic guitar tones, and great production and personality. This is an incredible album with their sharp, hard hitting tracks, as well as some slower ones that stretch out Queens of the Stone Age's unique sound and makes them a lot more dynamic. This album definitely shows off their "sadder" side, and I think that they did a fantastic job in creating a great album.
In conclusion, I would give this album an 8.5/10. You know this is just my opinion right?!
Ryan D. volunteers for the Sharp Park Library at home. Weird right?