The String Quartet Tribute to Staind

Vitamin String Quartet

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The String Quartet Tribute to Staind Review

by Johnny Loftus

Staind outdistanced itself from the nu-metal pack by piggybacking on the emotional roller coaster that is Aaron Lewis. While his vocal presence drifted from agitated to saddened, intimate to in your face, Staind's instrumentation was often average at best. All of which makes The String Quartet Tribute to Staind a surprise, since its instrumental arrangements of material from Dysfunction (1999) and Break the Cycle (2001) ring with emotional shifts and moments of real power. Guided by violin and viola, the mix also includes cello and double bass, but fails with forays into programming and synth that only work on the pleading "Fade." For the most part, however, the musicians have expertly transfused Lewis' dualistic nature -- emotional train wreck to lumbering locomotive -- into their arrangements. "Outside" is fragile, yet it seems to teeter on the edge, as if it were a porcelain figurine about to crash to the floor below. The grinding "Just Go" is almost unrecognizable, reimagined as a halting ballad tinged with hopeful violins. In this case, the chamber musicians have actually made their source material better. The set is essential for any Staind fan, as it offers another window into the emotions making up the band's spiritual center.

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