Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains

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A massive rock'n'roll record that's as fun as it is dark.

The build up to ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’, the first track on Queens Of The Stone Age’s seventh album is immense. Almost two minutes goes by before the band kicks in. It’s a deliberately dramatic way to open the band’s first new record in over four years.

But rather than sounding austere, it seems more like a self-aware, tongue in cheek way to open the album. One last little moment of waiting before the party begins. And, for the most part Villains does sound like quite a party indeed.

That boogie we heard in lead single ‘The Way You Used To Do’ is all over that aforementioned opening track, though it’s not the only trick Josh Homme has employed to lend a sense of levity to his punishing riff-rock. Throughout the record, he balances the darkness of all these songs with a sense of experimentation and, cliché as it sounds, a genuine, almost adolescent passion for rock’n’roll.

Everything sounds massive on Villains. ‘Domesticated Animals’ is a taut, thumping rocker, ‘Head Like A Haunted House’ is a wild and furious ride taking cues from 80s hardcore, while ‘Fortress’, ‘Hideaway’ and closing track ‘Villains Of Circumstance’ are a little more reserved and tuneful.

As usual, Queens don’t play it straight. They incorporate a jazzy sensibility to the ambitious and epic prog jam that is ‘Un-Reborn Again’, while the choppy rhythms and riffery of ‘The Evil Has Landed’ show the band’s musicality at its peak.  

That said, there’s not necessarily anything that will blow your mind here. It’s just another example of Josh Homme making high quality rock music with thick grooves, weird sounds and the kind of vocal melodies not many others could get away with.

While there’s no doubting that Villains is as dark as anything Queens of the Stone Age have released before, it’s also just as much fun.