With Aaron Lewis getting his troubadour fantasies out of the way on his boneheaded country detour Town Line, he’s able to concentrate on the basics for Staind’s eponymous seventh album. Roaring to life with “Not Again,” Staind maintain the same volume and velocity for much of the remaining nine songs, dialing down the intensity only for the closer, “Something to Remind You.” By leaning so heavily on the testosterone, Staind certainly suggest that they realize just how sleepy and stodgy they were getting on 2008’s The Illusion of Progress, for they no longer sound like post-grungers marveling at their ever-expanding waistlines: they may not quite sound hungry, but they sound as if they’re intent on proving they can still make some noise. Staind may not be much more than noise -- it’s not especially hooky or melodic -- but the group wins points for unexpectedly delivering something visceral. [A clean version was also released.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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