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Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age Queens of the Stone Age [Reissue]
Released 4 March 2011
Produced by
Co-Produced by
Joshua Homme,
Joe Barresi
Label Rekords Rekords, Domino
Length 59:39
Genre Hard rock
Website www.qotsa.com

Following the break-up of archetypal ‘90s stoner band Kyuss, lead guitarist Josh Homme and drummer Alfredo Hernandez got together to create Queens of the Stone Age; a band with an agenda of creating instantly recognizable riff based music. The fruit of this collaboration was their self titled debut, an album that was missed by all but the most ardent of Kyuss fans. Thirteen years on Homme has decided the time is right for a re-issue, citing lack of availability as his chief motivation. Given the ease with which I picked up my original copy in HMV Grafton Street all those years ago I am dubious, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

1998 was a year dominated by the “weepie” with Celine Dion’s 'My Heart Will Go On' and Aerosmith’s 'I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing' both selling by the shed-load so it’s no surprise that this album didn’t make any major headlines, its distorted ‘robot-rock’ riffs sounding a million miles away from the slick productions that were topping the charts. This was instead a platform for Homme to make the move from lead guitarist to front man; he hadn’t fully developed the lothario persona or his sneering vocal style, this would come later, but at times throughout you can hear the emergence of his inimitable style.

The songs still sound great thirteen years on, having aged a lot better than some of the nu metal output from this time. Songs like 'Avon' and 'How To Handle a Rope (A Lesson in the Lariat)' still pack the same powerful punch while the bass heavy grooves of 'Mexicola' and 'You Can’t Quit Me Baby' are as irresistible as ever. I was also happy to still be amazed at how one band could produce something as straightforward and catchy as 'If Only' one minute and then something as trippy  as closing track 'I Was a Teenage Hand Model' the next.

Three new tracks have been added to the line up; the first is 'The Bronze', a straightforward rocker that has popped up at live shows from time to time. 'These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For' is a riff-heavy instrumental that experiments heavily with time signatures and structure while 'Spiders and Vinegaroons' starts out as an almost tribal mixture of guitars and percussion underpinned by the recurring hand-claps before suddenly switching into some sort of industrial/electronic dance number. All three songs appeared on various EPs prior to the debut album being released and definitely represent the best reason for someone who already owns the album to reinvest.

Knowing that this debut would be followed by two absolute masterpieces in Rated R and Songs For The Deaf makes it hard to be considered in isolation. The eventual addition of Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri would be the making of the classic QOTSA sound, but to write this album off as being merely transitional would be doing a disservice to both Homme and Hernandez. There may have been even better to come but Queens of the Stone Age is still a hard rocking modern classic.

- Brian Kinsella