When Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme teamed up with superfriends Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones to form Them Crooked Vultures in 2009, the future of QOTSA seemed uncertain. While Homme had no intentions of ditching the band that brought him fame and fortune, a 2010 knee injury would quickly drop the lead singer and guitarist down to an emotional rock bottom. Complications following his routine knee surgery left Homme bedridden, and subsequently depressed, for four long months.
What Homme was not aware of was that this horrible tragedy would be the spark to the flame that is now known as ...Like Clockwork; QOTSA's sixth album and their most uniquely brilliant one to date. From slow, reflective pieces like "The Vampyre Of Time And Memory" to hard rockers like "My God Is The Sun", Homme invites his listeners to venture into the darkest period of his life. As Homme lay on his psychological deathbed, he was approached by his bandmates, all of whom were insistent that he begin writing for their sixth album. The emotionally sunk Homme responded much to the way ...Like Clockwork feels: "If you want to make a record with me right now, in the state I'm in, come into the fog."
The album is a slight departure from the conventional Queens of the Stone Age sound, which is riff-heavy, distorted hard rock. ...Like Clockwork has a deathly, gothic sound to it, which is truly embodied in the band's animated short film that clips together the songs "Kalopsia", "I Appear Missing", "Keep Your Eyes Peeled", "If I Had A Tail", and "My God Is The Sun". While the short film feels like a nightmarish acid trip gone horribly wrong, there is something about it that makes you not want to wake up. It is as masterfully produced and composed as is the full-length album itself.
To put the icing on the cake, the album features the talents of some of music's finest. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), and Sir Elton John, to name a few, all lend a helping hand on various tracks to capture the full, haunting sound intended by Homme. "I Appear Missing" is perhaps the song that best embodies Homme's mentality as he lay there hopelessly on that hospital bed back in 2010, with descriptive lyrics like, "Calling all comas / Prisoner on the loose / Description: A spitting image of me." Although many fans may be disappointed by the lack of vintage QOTSA headbangers present on ...Like Clockwork, the album is magnificent progression to a fuller and more emotionally driven sound.
...Like Clockwork is available now via Matador Records.