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Staind | Tormented | review | metal | Lollipop


by Scott Hefflon

It seems Boston's next big band is from Western Massachusetts. Ludlow, to be exact. That's right, Ludlow. I'd call it Home of ... something embarassing, but I can't even think of anything coming out of Ludlow. Yet Staind are savvy, street-smart, and dammit, they rock. Their studio debut, tOrmenteD, shows either a natural knack for milking the most out of a crunchy guitar, or they had some good coaching. Either way, the dark elements in the vocals shine through with alarming clarity, the snarling guitar is so crisp it has the immediacy of sticking your head in a cranked up practice amp, yet the rich depth of semi-professional production. Staind may have accidently hit upon a production aesthetic that major-label bands will blow mind-boggling budgets trying to emulate. Stylistically, Staind combine the memorable hooks of grunge with the pounding drums and roaring guitars of all that is heavy. Vocally, it may seem odd to say a band can have the passionate trembling of, ya know, those Seattle bands, yet have a desperate howl that is rather Kornesque. When singer Aaron Lewis isn't crooning, croaking, and moaning mournfully about how really shitty the world is and how much he doesn't like it, he's screaming like he just dropped the lit tip of his cigarette down his shirt and it's eating away flesh every second until he extinguishes it. Fellow bandmates are more than competent on their instruments, yet have the restraint to push the song further, rather than compete for the soloing spotlight. Unlike many a band, especially heavy bands that rely more on strength than dexterity, Staind has songs. Songs you get to know. Songs you move with, anticipate, go the distance with. And this is only a debut. It probably goes without saying that this is a band to watch.
(519 Fuller St. Ludlow, MA 01056)


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