Eleven will probably be forever best known as "hired guns" for such hard rock heavyweights as Chris Cornell and Queens of the Stone Age, as well as at one point including original Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer (and brief Pearl Jam member) Jack Irons in their ranks. But the group has always been about the multi-talented duo Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider, who released the group's fifth release overall, Howling Book, in 2003. Eleven manages to retain the arty yet rocking sound of their earlier releases here, as evidenced by such standouts as the groove-heavy hard rocker "Flow Like a River" and the moody, extended album closer, "I Will Drink It All." Interestingly though, there are quite a few tracks here that would have sounded at home on Chris Cornell's Euphoria Morning -- especially "Simple Kiss" and "Kill Me No More." This shouldn't come as a surprise, however, as Johannes and Shneider co-produced, played on, and helped pen songs for the former Soundgarden singer's solo debut. Longtime fans of Johannes and Shneider are sure to enjoy Howling Book, as will admirers of original and uncompromising hard rock.
Review by Greg Prato