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Queens Of The Stone Age

Stone Cold

AgeQueens Of The Stone Age tapped into the post-millennial modern rock zeitgeist with their 2002 breakthrough "Songs for the Deaf," a collection of brutally loud, utterly thrilling sonic salvos threaded with mock DJ voice-overs for nonexistent radio stations. However, QOTSA's charmed run seemingly crashed to a halt in February 2004, after frontman Josh Homme dismissed bassist Nick Oliveri, his longtime friend, from the band, and Lanegan said he was bowing out to focus on his own music.

So it's more than a pleasant surprise that the first voice heard on the new album "Lullabies to Paralyze" is Lanegan's, and that QOTSA is still wielding the manic energy and unpredictable persona so often attributed to the goateed, bald and bare-chested Oliveri. The set arrives this week via Interscope; first single "Little Sister" climbed to No. 2 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart in just seven weeks.

"This isn't an album about Nick," Homme insists of the set, which sees Alain Johannes stepping in for Oliveri and Joey Castillo, formerly of Danzig, taking Grohl's seat behind the drums. "I didn't want this to be a 'breaking up is hard to do' album," Homme says. "That's just boring."

The core group, which also features multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen, completed recording for "Lullabies" in just five weeks. Homme enthuses that a number of tracks were captured in one or two takes, including the sinister riff-fest "The Blood Is Love."

"Those types of things are proud moments," he says. "I hear us listening to each other. No one makes a move alone. Even 'Little Sister' is one completed take. You can hear it almost breaking apart at the end, where there are some cool mistakes. Man, I love that stuff."