STAIND (Aaron Lewis & Johnny April)
"Pressure usually kicks in my creativity, but I've never been quite so stressed out over an album," reveals Lewis. "There were a lot of schedule clashes and differences of opinion, and I was trying to muscle through it all. I was burnt from running ragged, and nothing would come out lyrically for months. We'd talk about ideas, but it didn't happen until the end. Those were real feelings of discontent arising within the whole process. There's nothing like shit coming off real—when it's real. I guess that was my breaking point. It was a big heaving deep breath when it was over."
Mushok adds, "This was a hard record to make. We weren't all together in the same place the whole time, and Aaron and I butted heads about the music. In hindsight, it all paid off and we ended up with a better album."
Every moment of the process was captured in a forthcoming documentary piece, which Lewis aptly dubs, "Some Kind of Monster on steroids. It unveils everything that went into this.” After finishing the album, Staind underwent another significant change. The band amicably parted ways with original drummer Jon Wysocki.
"Not Again," the lead single, brandishes a vicious vitality, teetering between pummeling guitars and an incisive, infectious hook. "That was born out of the frustrations of making this record," exclaims Lewis. "It came out of being really fucking pissed off, and you can hear that in my voice."
You can also hear it loud and clear on the gritty and gruff groove of "Wannabe," where the singer spits vitriol at faceless online detractors. Then there's "Failing," which snaps from a haunting harmony into an entrancing refrain. With clean guitar and vocals, "Something to Remind You" is sparse and elegantly brutal, while "Paper Wings" burns with raw rage.
"There's a deeper anger to the vocals and music," explains April. "Some of the riffs Mike came up with were challenging and incredibly different. We've grown so much, and at the same time managed to find out way back to our roots.”
Since day one, Staind has found ways to make darkness beautiful, wrapping shards of melody inside a distorted hum. Mushok continues, "I'm very happy to know we can go back to where we came from and write a record like this. It wasn't an easy process, but it was worth it."
Ultimately, Staind will continue their legacy. "As a songwriter, you can only hope someone feels what you're feeling," concludes Lewis. "In terms of what I get off my chest, the subject matter has always been a release for me. I think this record is another perfect example of that."