By Ryan Leas
Leading up to the release of the Foo Fighters’ seventh album, “Wasting Light,” Dave Grohl often commented on how it was by far their heaviest disc to date. The claim is mainly accurate, though there are, as on any Foo Fighters album, still enough similarities to their past that it is not necessarily a drastic detour for the band.
Coming after the stylistic expansion of 2005’s “In Your Honor” and 2007’s “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace,” the new album does have the vibe of a back-to-basics approach. While the double album “In Your Honor” was split between rock songs and more meditative acoustic material and its follow-up “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” tried to reconcile the two halves, “Wasting Light” features the band unapologetically favoring the hardest of their rock inclinations, entirely dismissing with the textural and stylistic detours of its immediate predecessors. Perhaps this development can partially be attributed to the fact that one-time Nirvana contributor and ex-Foos man Pat Smear has officially rejoined the band. The new three-guitar attack contributes to what is ultimately not only their most stylistically cohesive album in years, but also the one on which they sound the most vital.
Structurally and melodically, the obvious references in their back catalogue are 1995’s “Foo Fighters” and 1997’s “The Colour and the Shape.” Those two albums are often considered the band's best moments, and rightfully so. It seems with every release, the Foo Fighters are expected to return to the style of “The Colour and the Shape,” and here fans may find the band coming as close as they ever will to such a return.