Hitting the wall.
The Californian band Queens Of The Stone Agepresents his eighth studio album, In Times New Roman… through the seal Bullfighter. The project headed by Josh Homme returns after six years Villians (2017), an experimental album that presented cleaner and more rhythmic sounds, moving away from the inhospitable landscapes of other materials.
On this occasion, QOTSA returns to the wild terrain of stoner rock, in a quest to find themselves. It is no surprise to anyone that these last few years have been difficult for everyone, between the pandemic, the economic crisis and personal tragedies, those that many of us have not told about, and it is not a secret that Homme has had quite a few difficulties recently, between separation, mourning and illness, a lot of ideas and emotions have accumulated in the musician’s head and he has not found a better way than his art to free himself, finding catharsis between fear and the fury. He makes this clear to us with “Obscenery” is a messy start to the album, with dirty guitars, powerful drums and the typical vocal games of Hommewhat you would expect from a song QOTSA. Not a big surprise, but comforting familiar sounds, how comforting a blow to the face can be. Followed by “Paper Machete”, along the same lines, but with a greater dose of speed, doubling down on going hard and direct, they find a more melodic and structured theme, it is a large-scale military attack and not a mere bar fight.
It’s with “Carnavoyeur” where the turning point of the album is located, coincidentally, it is also the central theme. With greater cadence, they stop trying to remind us who they are and start showing us what they can do. Giving yourself the time and space necessary to develop your ideas. Also mention “Sicily”, the best song on the album, which, with the same basis as the other songs, achieves an ambitious proposal, introducing additional elements, some darkness, dramatic pauses and a lot of spectacularity. Finally, he highlights “Emotion Sickness”, which prepares us for an ending in line with this second part of the album, but resuming the intensity of the first, the great guitars and falsettos return, but better armed and in strategic positions, giving a feeling of balance towards the closing of the material.
In conclusion, it is a good album, with lights and shadows like life itself. The sharp letters of Homme, they avoid the pathos of the situation, you perceive the pain and anger of the artist and the person, someone who has lost everything, including himself, not finding a better way to recover it than by knocking down the walls that are placed in front of him. But anger is also a confusing feeling, which makes us erratic and that can be seen on the album. If we don’t know how to handle it, it will make us lose ourselves on that path of fire and darkness.