on 15 March 2003
To be honest, when I first puchased this CD and listened to it, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I'd gone in with no expectations, but let me tell you, this CD is something else.
Starting with the gypsy-like march of Don't Drink Poison, the first few tracks continue in the same vein, all wailing choruses and thumping drums. Songs For The Deaf stand-out Hangin' Tree, featuring Mark Lanegan, is to be found in this portion of the album. A more stripped down version than the subsequent remake, I can definitely say this track is an utter gem, and worth getting the album for.
Up to then, suffice to say, the album is excellent but nothing really stood out to me. Then, however, I discovered track 6- the delectable Nenada. With Russian vocals provided by Natasha Schnieder, this track is a blistering three-guitar assualt, with a catchy riff, a genius drum beat and chilling vocals. The further you get into this track, the better it gets. For me, this is a certified favourite, and it's been on repeat pretty much ever since.
That's not to say the quality tracks end there. From here on in the sounds become more eclectic, following straight afterwards with the more 'rock' sound of The Idiots Guide, then with the parody that is Covousier. But the final standout track for me is saved till almost last- Making A Cross.
The delicate beauty of this song is something to behold, with the chugging tempo and pained vocals. Alain Johannes takes on the main duties on this track, to great effect as we are taken through this marching-like track. It's not an instant track, but once you give it a chance, it WILL grow on you.
Then the diversity again kicks in as the almost confusing Piano Bench Breaks (literally that), takes hold (literally that), signalling the end of a fantastic album. After listening to this a few times, it occured to me that this album is as free and uninhibited as it is because it was made for the sake of being made. Without the restrictions of expected sales figures, the 'no pressure' attitude has translated to the music. Lets hope Josh Homme and his band of talented individuals never change that ideal and continue to make these phenomenal albums for years to come.
on 29 January 2002
This is an awesome collection of tunes, totally diverse but sticking to the same mystical theme all the way through. Josh Homme has called in some very talented people this time around to aid him in his quest, specifically Alain Johannes & Natasha Schneider from Eleven, who contribute to the best tunes on here. 'Up in Hell' sounds like a rocked out medieval chant, 'Polly wants a Crack Rock' is as menacing and twisted as the title sounds, 'Nenada' sounds like Thin Lizzy singing a Hebrew mantra - I'm making it sound weird but trust me its all good stuff, better than the last Queens album in terms of originality and atmosphere which is a bold statement indeed. And I've saved the last part of this for 'Making a Cross', which is one of the most moving, atmospheric tunes that I've heard in a long while, it builds up from a beautiful accoustic piece into an epic fuzzed out jam, its absolutely fantastic. Buy this album, it will amaze you!
on 18 January 2003
This is fantastic stuff- the only reason it doesn't deserve 5 stars is because of the wierdo crazy stuff these guys have a tendency to stick in at the end or start of songs (ie twisted guitar noise over- amped with sqeaky monotone rumblings etc). The 'song' Winners is a prime example.
That minor gripe aside, the desert sessions stuff has always been a fantastic group of musical artists getting together just to do what they enjoy doing- playing and creating music for musics sake. This is the latest offering and in my opinion the best. The whole thing is big a melting pot for ideas for the guys from Masters of Reality, Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Screaming Trees etc.
Music for music's sake. Keep the sessions coming!
on 26 April 2006
This album basically sounds like a bunch of guys having a pretty good time. It has a nice, raw production sound to it and doesn't take itself too seriously. If you like Pavement, actually, you might like this. Just don't expect total energy rock - the appeal of this album is more in its sense of fun. I have a friend, by the way, who can't stop quoting the words from "Winners" to me - he even has them printed out and stuck to his acoustic guitar.
on 1 November 2001
If i had one tenth of the talent that Josh Homme has i would be a rich man! This CD is as amazing as anything that Kyuss or Queens have produced. Volume 7 (tracks 1-5) have a distinctly gypsy feel, dont drink poison, for example has mandolins all over it. The strongest track on the album though has to be Nenada.... words cant explain how good this is, you just have to buy it!