The heavy, melodic, dark, and dynamic reign supreme on the latest release from the Quentin Tarantinos of stoner rock.

Undulating between pulsating riffs, idiosyncratic sound realms, and frontman Josh Homme’s exquisite Californian drawls, the new record flows indeed, like clockwork, in a parallel universe.

Opening track ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ is an oh-so-cool yet playful classic rock signpost, underscored by heavy bass, atmospheric slices of drumming, and a steady pace. Serving as a nice introduction, the arena is set for the rockers to delve deeper into an eclectic musical terrain that complies with their trademark artistry.

‘The Vampyre Of Time And Memory’ is an epic worthy of a cinematic soundtrack. The eloquence of its execution and commitment to the ballad form amidst a decidedly subversive landscape is bound to secure new fans. The track includes one of Troy van Leewuen’s searing guitar solos that suitably punctuates the record, this time complementing Homme’s climactic keyboard tones.

Rock and roll lullaby ‘Kalopsia’ celebrates the moody dialogue between soft, simple guitar picking where Homme is clearly having fun with a slider, and nitty gritty bass and pounding drums support.

As the track list descends towards the album’s title track conclusion, the intensity jacks up. The isolation and suspension in ‘I Appear Missing’ is created through the slow, rhythmic drums and accelerated pace that plays adjacent to Homme’s tortured vocals. ‘Smooth Sailing’ is a hyperactive addition, containing an extended and orchestrated guitar riff of Rated R proportions.

The record does not become jarring despite the range of genres transcended, but rather, is a noteworthy spectrum comprising elements from classic rock, industrial metal, folk and blues, grunge, and even the peripheral soundscapes of pop. Fans will adore the return to heavy versatility, a characteristic also evidenced by the range of collaborators, including Trent Reznor, Nick Oliveri, Dave Grohl, and understated cameo from Elton John on ‘Fairweather Friends’.

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If you want to make a quick buck, or better yet, fund your ticket to the band’s next tour down under planned for mid 2014, then create a wager. Bet your closest Queens Of The Stone Age sceptic that they can’t sit through …Like Clockwork and find something to connect to.

You’ll be laughing, and probably head-banging, all the way to the gig.

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