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Eagles of Death Metal

by Philip Brasor

Eagles of Death Metal can be considered a parody band twice removed. Formed by Josh Homme and boyhood pal Jesse “The Devil” Hughes during a brief hiatus in Homme’s successful campaign to turn Queens of the Stone Age into one of the world’s most admired hard rock bands, EODM pushed QOTSA’s 1970s revivalist idea into the ’80s. With his bushy mustache and slicked-back hair, guitarist-vocalist Hughes (Homme plays drums, at least on the records — he won’t be playing in Tokyo) would seem to be acting out some kind of blues-rock boogie-man fantasy, but the music mostly exploits all those androgynous cock-rock cliches made famous by groups like Poison and Warrant.

Though not quite as mock-retro as it sounds (Motley Crue, after all, is still with us), EODM raises the unpolitically correct ante on jailbait themes and general skank (“I Want You So Hard”). But while Hughes’ vocals are purposely terrible and his guitar work actionable, the guy understands that this sort of pastiche succeeds or fails on the strength of its riffs, and he’s constructed more than a few killers. In Japan, where truth in advertising isn’t always enforced, it’s encouraging to see that the promoter is qualifying its PR with the disclaimer that “this is NOT death metal.” And it has nothing to do with The Eagles, either, thank God.