Era Vulgaris translates to the Common Era, but there is nothing common about the latest album from Queens of the Stone Age. Joshua Homme's band of gypsies return with their fifth full-length release from the seminal desert rockers and they are out for blood with guitars slung low. Era Vulgaris delivers riffs heavier than a slab of Stonehenge and more infectious than The Black Plague, vocals as smooth as molten lava and infused with sex, danger, and the sound of a band possessed to deliver rock music to a new epoch. Produced with the help of longtime collaborator, and Masters of Reality genius, Chris Goss, QOTSA give birth to eleven tracks that will enter your bloodstream and transform your Dr. Jekyll into a Mr. or Ms. Hyde. QOTSA and R got you hooked, Songs for the Deaf made you scream for more, Lullabies to Paralyze blew your mind and June 2007 marks the dawn of a new, loud era: Era Vulgaris.
Latin for "common era," Era Vulgaris holds a pair of common threads with the four Queens of the Stone Age records that preceded it. One, it crosses colossal guitar chords with the most volatile of hard rock melodies. And second, it's as LOUD as loud gets, thanks to Josh Homme, the impatient instigator behind the ever-evolving cast of personalities that make up the band. Detonation comes with track one, as the jagged riffs of "Turning on the Screw" lead the listener into "Sick, Sick, Sick," where Julian Casablancas spews his vocals beneath a wall of multi-guitar catcalls. Although the head Stroke will likely garner the most attention, perpetual Queener Mark Lanegan's velvety pipes earmark two of Era's most booming selections: the funky "Make It Wit Chu" (complete with Temptations-like backing vocals) and the heart-racing three minutes of "River in the Road." Add the garage rock of Homme's "3's & 7's" and "Suture Up Your Future," easy pickings for most likely crossover hit, and Era Vulgaris-- hypnotically and explosively common--holds its own with any in the QoTSA discography. --Scott Holter