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Staind - Chapter V


Review: Jack Foley

POWERHOUSE American rockers, Staind, return with another almighty album that pretty much delivers everything that is expected and nothing else besides.

Following the success of their breakthrough single, It's Been A While, Staind have become one of the biggest selling rock groups in America today, selling ten million albums and rapidly earning their place in rock history.

Chapter V is, needless to say, their fifth album, following on from the platinum-selling success of 14 Shades of Gray.

It's produced by David Botrill (Peter Gabriel, Muse and Tool) and is being heralded as a return to form for the band, courtesy of its towering guitar riffs and epic anthems.

In truth, it's fairly generic for this sort of thing. Distinctly American, very serious and more than a little inspired by the grunge-rock likes of Papa Roach, Pearl Jam and Limp Bizkit.

Sadly, it's nowhere near as good as any of those no matter how accomplished it sounds.

Part of the reason for this is that Staind cater for a distinctly American audience. They know where their bread is buttered and have seldom tried to expand the sound.

They also rely a little too heavily on angst and self-torture with Chapter V continuing the process whereby lead singer, Aaron Lewis, takes a long, hard and frequently painful look at himself and his problems.

Tracks like Cross To Bear and Devil are classic cases in point - the former opening with the lyrics, 'twisting, turning, crashing, burning, all this just to break me down'.

Its chorus, though defiant, maintains the tortured feeling of self-burden, posing the question, 'I'm still here, patiently waiting for you to disappear, is this my cross to bear?'

Devil, meanwhile, is a slow-building anti-love song, blessed with lyrics such as 'she sits alone again and tries her best to pretend that all she used to live for was the love that wasn't there'.

In truth, there are some tracks that work well. Album opener, Run Away, is suitably rousing and a typically expansive welcome, while the rolling guitars of Please recall Pearl Jam - especially since Lewis' vocals adopt an even huskier tone.

The token acoustic track, Everything Changes, is as heartfelt as you might expect - and almost certain to become a single - but it's very familiar for this sort of thing (despite being the best track on the album).

Which leaves me with the suspicion that this is strictly for the Staind fans only - anyone else need not apply.

Track listing:
1. Run Away
2. Right Here
3. Paper Jesus
4. Schizophrenic Conversations
5. Falling
6. Cross to Bear
7. Devil
8. Please
9. Everything Changes
10. Trippy
11. King of All Excuses
12. Reply

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