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Album Review

At the beginning of the '90s, "metal" was a dirty word. A few bands, such as Metallica, had enough weight to appear as heirs to the metallic crown, but for the most part, it was the province of lightweight pop-metal mavens. How times change. By the end of the decade, metal was ultra-serious, with the typical band tackling somber, even morose, subjects without humor either in their lyrics or music; it was nothing but a constant grind. Staind is very much emblematic of its era, as much as Poison was of its — which isn't meant to be a slam, actually. It's just that the band's debut album, Dysfunction, is a product of the times. Staind shows a lot of promise on Dysfunction, but you'd forgive a casual observer for thinking that it's an average alt-metal record, because in many ways it is. Unlike Korn or Limp Bizkit (who fervently endorsed Staind, so much so that LB's lead singer, Fred Durst, co-produced the album), Staind doesn't really have a distinct image or musical style, but the band does summarize '90s underground metal, from Alice in Chains to Tool to Korn. This is hookless, solo-less music where the sonic texture serves as coloring for the bleak words. Not necessarily an easy listen for the uninitiated, but anyone who's grown up on alt-metal will find familiar touchstones throughout the record and will be pleased at how the band easily shifts tempos and sonic colorings, while Aaron Lewis actually sings on much of the record. These are subtle pleasures, the kinds that aficionados will appreciate. Other listeners, however, will likely find Dysfunction a little tedious, since there isn't a wide variety of songs on the record, nor is there anything catchy. That, of course, is a signature trait of alt-metal and helps make the record a sign of the times — but that doesn't mean it's an easy record to enjoy for anyone outside of the cognoscenti.

Customer Reviews

The Pinnacle Of Staind's Career

I love this album, yet I hate everything else that Staind has done afterwards. This CD is the direction that Staind should have taken in their career. Their sound was dark and more unique during this time, and I could never get tired of this. The only big single off this album was "Mudshovel", which is a more aggressive assault from the band. "Home" is more of a ballad that carries on this unique sound, and "Just Go" is a mix of "Mudshovel" and "Home" combined together. This is the direction that Staind should have gone in their career, and sadly, "Break The Cycle" screwed things over.

A Masterpiece of the Art

Staind has yet to top this album, which I consider the pinnacle of their efforts. It maintains and suspends the listener in a dark and powerful atmosphere of pure metal mayhem, while effectively yet subtly mirroring the pain Aaron Lewis screams of into each and every listener. The music itself is quite friendly to the Nu-Metal/Metal headbanger, and the vocals add a powerful and mature accent via simple melodies and passion which is what really makes Dysfunction the best in show for Staind. Without a doubt, a must buy for anyone interested in the Nu-Metal genre who aren't afraid of the harder side of Staind.


This talk that they went the "wrong direction" with their careers after this album is ridiculous. To this day they still have the "hard" and "raw" songs that are found on this album. They just also have "softer" songs (can't really call them that with the subject matter though) to appeal to people that became fans after It's Been Awhile became a monster hit. They've blended these two opposite ends of the pole together brilliantly as their careers have gone further and further, and I'm glad they did. If they had just stuck to this formula forever, they wouldn't have stood the test of time. I'm sorry to all of the "die-hard originals" but that is the truth.


Formed: November 24, 1995 in Springfield, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

It has been said that first impressions last a lifetime. Luckily for Staind, some only last for about 45 minutes. After a volatile disagreement with Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst over some of Staind's early cover art, it seemed their big break had walked out the door. Fortunately, by the time Durst had witnessed Staind's intense live show, he was ready to exchange phone numbers. Staind's story began in the New England area when vocalist Aaron Lewis and guitarist Mike Mushok met at a Christmas party...
Full Bio
Dysfunction, Staind
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Released: Apr 13, 1999
  • Parental Advisory

Customer Ratings


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