The Unseen (3/4)- 2000
While I do not condone drug use, I get the feeling that The Unseen is album that is not meant to be listened to sober. Quasimoto is a squeaky voiced alter-ego created by producer Madlib, and that character can certainly get annoying through the course of the album. That being said, it’s a creative idea that works a lot better than it should, and Madlib shows once again why he’s one of the most critically acclaimed producers in hip-hop.
The Further Adventures of Lord Quas (2.5/4)- 2005
It’s rare for me to criticize an album for being too long, but it’s impossible not to shake the feeling that there’s just too much Quasimoto here. Madlib’s borderline annoying alter-ego loses its charm quickly, and later becomes an obstacle in enjoying the otherwise excellent production. In short doses, Lord Quas is enjoyable, but this album is overkill.
Queens of the Stone Age (Alternative/Hard Rock)
Queens of the Stone Age (3/4)- 1998
The first Queens of the Stone Age was a huge departure from the desert-rock style of frontman Josh Homme’s former band, Kyuss. While Kyuss had all but perfected blues and stoner rock, this new project saw Homme playing a more toned down pop-oriented version of that. Much of the time, it works, but it also suffers from an identity crisis. There’s a reason the distortion and stoner influences are lessened in later Queens albums.
Rated R (3.5/4)- 2000
To many, Rated R is Josh Homme’s masterpice, and for good reason. This is what Queens of the Stone Age tried and only partially succeeded at with their debut, as it masterfully blends catchy alternative rock with the stoner rock of Kyuss. There’s a bit of filler that keeps it from reaching perfection, but the highlights are some of the edgiest and most well written alternative songs rock you’ll ever hear.
Songs for the Deaf (3.5/4)- 2002
While not as blues oriented as Homme’s other work, Songs for the Deaf contains some of the best songwriting of his career. It’s consistently catchy, while also quirky and intelligent, and puts nearly every other mainstream rock album of the last decade to shame.
Lullabies to Paralyze (3/4)- 2005
Queens of the Stone Age’s first album without bassist Nick Oliveri is little more than a straightforward hard rock record. It’s good for what it is, but not nearly as memorable as what one would expect from Josh Homme.
Era Vulgaris (2.5/4)- 2007
Era Vulgaris is the definition of a hit-and-miss album. Some tracks are simply boring and forgettable, while others rang among the most creative in Queens of the Stone Age’s discography. Even the more creative tracks lack staying power, however, and the hard edge found on Josh Homme’s earlier records are unfortunately missing. Era Vulgaris is a big step down for the band, but it has its moments, and even at its worst it’s still better than most rock albums.
Queensryche (Progressive Rock/Metal)
Operation: Mindcrime (4/4)- 1988
It’s remarkable than an album made with such an emphasis on the politics on its time can be just as relevant today. Operation: Mindrcime is many things, and revolutionary album that just so happens to focus on the subject of revolution is one of them. You may not agree with the politics, but the story is told which such coherence and intelligence that it’s enjoyable even as purely as a traditional rock opera, and it remains a highly influential album in the prog metal genre.
Empire (2.5/4)- 1990
Empire may be Queensryche’s most commercially successful album, but it’s a poor indication of the band’s sound. This is little more than a catchy pop rock record that sees some very talented people underuse their skills, both in terms of technical ability of songwriting. Empire is catchy, and it’s much better than most other 80’s hard rock albums, but it’s a shame that’s really the extent of the praise that can be given to this record.
Operation: Mindcrime II (3/4)- 2006
It took eighteen years, but the long overdue sequel to Queensyrche’s political masterpiece was finally released in 2006. As expected, it isn’t anywhere near as masterful as the first one, especially when it comes to Geoff Tate’s surprisingly mediocre vocal performance, but Mindcrime II is still a great concept album. If you’re a fan of Operation: Mindcrime, the sequel is a must listen. Everyone else should start with the first one and go from there.