Queens of the Stone Age

Lullabies to Paralyze

Although some elements are missing from the latest disc from Queens of the Stone Age—namely Dave Grohl’s drum-pummeling and co-founder Nick Oliveri’s unfettered screaming—they are hardly missed. Lullabies to Paralyze carries on the QOTSA tradition of tightly compressed riffs cemented beneath vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme’s melodic falsetto. What makes the band so good—and probably the most important in rock music today—is that Homme and Co. don’t try to reinvent the wheel. As with previous albums, QOTSA pulls the listener under its atmospheric black veil by marrying punk, classic rock and metal. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Homme has the best voice in rock music—channeling Paul Stanley and Jack Bruce in songs like “Everybody Knows That You Are Insane” and “Burn the Witch.” And “Little Sister” punches forward with punk brashness, complete with cowbell, but Homme’s vocals never allow it to fly completely off the handle. However, Lullabies does have its dull moments, especially in “Someone’s in the Wolf,” a seven-minute throwaway with a redundant riff that damn near lulled me to sleep.