By MATT NEALWORD from the recent V Festival in Melbourne was that one band blew all the others off the stage and that band was Queens Of The Stone Age (QOTSA).Now five albums into their career, QOTSA have edged their way up the rock ladder with each new record, building a solid following of people who dig their hard rock with a bit of brains and a bit of boogie.Over their 11-year career, the main constant has been frontman Joshua Homme - one of the few guitarists of the modern era to have developed a truly unique guitar sound (the production of which he keeps a secret).Homme first came to prominence as part of Kyuss, stoner rock from Palm Desert, California, who garnered a small but fervent fan base in the early 1990s.Formed in the wake of Kyuss' break-up, QOTSA has always been a loose collective of musicians revolving around Homme, not unlike his Desert Sessions jams although with a more mainstream bent.Homme likes to refer to the band's sound as "robot rock'', perhaps as a way to try and distance his band form the term ``stoner rock''. Unfortunately for Homme, the first song most people heard from QOTSA was Feel Good Hit Of Summer - a track with just seven words in its lyrics: "Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol ... co-co-co-co-cocaine!''.Queens Of The Stone Age (1998)THIS little-heard album slipped through the cracks and was only initially picked up by Kyuss fans keen to see what Homme did next. Built on driving riffs rather than the pounding rhythms and devious melodies of later albums, the self-titled debut still owes a lot to Kyuss' droning monster jams. It bears hints of a QOTSA sound that is still present today and the epic groove of You Can't Quit Me Baby and the swampy metal of Mexicola remain fan favourites and occasionally rejoin the setlist.Rated R (2000)WITH one of the best openings to a record this millenium, Rated R invites you in with the joke single Feel Good Hit Of The Summer. If you get the gag, which Europe and Australia did, you're in for a great trip. QOTSA's fellow Americans didn't get it but they eventually embraced the band through bouncey guitar-pop number Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret. Either way, the band had arrived. Rated R is as catchy as a venereal disease - melodies and hooks abound, possibly through Homme's increased confidence in his voice and refinements to his guitar sound, which at times sounds like a herd of buffalo stampeding across a plain and at othertimes like hawks swooping overhead. The addition of new bass player Nick Oliveri, who co-wrote almost the whole album, added punk danger (Quick And To The Pointless, Tension Head), and Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan makes his first guest appearance (Into The Fade. Eight-minute closing jam I Think I Lost My Headache was the closest they came to a Kyuss jam and it's a brilliant end to a great rock record.Songs For The Deaf (2002)PROBABLY the band's peak thanks to a killer line-up. Homme and Oliveri trade vocal duties with the returning Lanegan and multi-instrumentalists Troy Van Leeuwen (A Perfect Circle), Alain Johannes (Eleven) and Dean Ween (Ween) play on the album as well. But it's the presence of Nirvana drummer and chief Foo Fighter Dave Grohl that kicks things up a notch. The album's concept involves flicking between radio stations on a lengthy car trip, so there's some full throttle driving tunes (First It Giveth, A Song For The Dead and Lanegan's creepy Hangin' Tree. But Hottest 100 chart-topper No One Knows is the album's centrepoint and possibly their finest moment.Lullabies To Paralyze (2005)YOU could be mistaken for thinking you'd stumbled onto a Tom Waits record when Lanegan starts crooning opening track This Lullaby. The un-QOTSA like start helped fuel the idea that Oliveri's sacking before this album had stripped the band of its potency. But that's not the case as flat-out rocker Medication and the possible Oliveri jibe Everybody Knows That You're Insane prove. The punk of Oliveri might have disappeared but in its place was a dark bluesy swagger (Tangled Up In Plaid, Burn The Witch, You Got A Killer Scene There, Man) and another great single with In My Head. Guests abounded once again, including Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Shirley Manson (Garbage) and Brody Dalle (The Distillers).Era Vulgaris (2007)THIS album has a point or two to prove. For the doubters who thought their best was behind them there's the opening insane boogie of Turning On The Screw, which just happens to be one of their best tracks ever. Then for those who thought they'd lost too much edge since Oliveri and Lanegan's departures, there's the hard-hitting Sick, Sick, Sick. And for those who thought they couldn't produce a tasty single anymore, there's the sexy groove of Make It Wit Chu. There's something delightfully dirty and groggy about this album, which makes it sound like it was the most fun QOTSA has had making a record.