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It has become a cliché statement for rock bands as an album drops: “This album almost ended the band”. You learn to take it with a grain of salt, almost like when bands tell you “this album is gonna be our best one yet”. It’s the same old promo rubbish that is almost mandatory in the biz these days. However, in the case of STAIND, the former is an absolute understatement and they have the video to prove it. Upon the release of their self titled seventh album they posted an hour long film documenting the making of their new record. It’s an eye opening account of the exhausting and often strenuous process of making an album, which ultimately came at the cost of their drummer Jon Wysocki.

There had been murmors that STAIND were planning on making this album heavier than their previous, more mainstream efforts. This didn’t do much for the confidence of their fans because we had heard it all before. They said they were doing that with their previous album ‘The Illusion of Progress’ and well.. we know how that turned out. So it’s safe to say that fans were a little surprised when their first single ‘Not Again’ was released.

Aaron seems to have finally remembered how to scream and someone must have stolen their acoustic guitars because this album is dominated by brutal, unforgiving and well overdue riffage. Case and point being ‘Paper Wings’. This track is dark, and I mean real’y dark, yet Aaron Lewis seems able to provide even a little light with his brooding melodies. The same can be said for ‘The Bottom’ which was featured on the Transformers: Dark Of The Moon soundtrack. You would be forgiven for thinking that Staind have been given an absolute free pass by their record label and that very well may have been the case as this is their last record to be released under their current contract with Atlantic Records.

Its safe to say that for the past decade, STAIND have been churning out albums which, while commercially successful don’t leave the listener with much to sink their teeth into. However after chewing your way through the ten tracks on ‘Staind’ your jaw may well end up on the floor, if not from the involving brutality of the music then it will probably be due to shock.

If you, like many people, detest STAIND and have never been a fan then do not bother with this album. You simply will not like it. However if you are like the majority of STAIND fans who have slowly become more and more frustrated with the mellow direction they have taken over the last four albums and have been hanging out for them to return to their brutal ‘Dysfunction’ days then your time has finally come. This album kicks you in the teeth and leaves you for dead. Plainly put, it kicks fuckin ass.

8 out of 10