The result is that the Foos evade turning into a beardy Bon Jovi in their middle age, and Grohl has carved out the band's most diverse and fascinating album to date. Moulding both the acoustic and rock strings of their bow together, it lacks the inevitable chaff that weighed down In Your Honour but loses none of its intrigue. Lead single 'The Pretender' was a slight misnomer in terms of what can be expected, with its quiet-loud dynamic, Grohl snarl and tub-thumping Hawkins drums pretty much your average Foos fare. It's track two where the band truly get into their strut. 'Let It Die' will be mainly noted for its obvious lyrical connections to Kurt and Courtney, with Grohl sinisterly whispering: "A simple man and his blushing bride / Intravenous, intertwined / Hearts gone cold your hands were tied / Why'd you have to go and let it die?", but the spine-tingling guitar, inevitable head-rush key change and Grohl's blood-curdling screams are the real highlights.
Following 'Let It Die', there's the monster truck rock of 'Erase Replace', that has nicked the stoner rock groove off Josh Homme's Queens Of The Stone Age and injected it with Motorhead-style pile-driving drums and cranked-up guitars. Next up is 'Long Road To Ruin' - which isn't a million miles from Springsteen circa 'Born To Run' - with its AM radio, driving chorus that whistles like a greased-up Cadillac on the highway. Hot on its heels is the slow burning 'Come Alive', which creeps up from behind and gooses you with its psychedelic frenzy of guitars and thrashing drums. You want more...well Dave's got more. The cocky, swaggering 'Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup is Running)', which features some fine chugging Hawkins drums and sounds like it's been sleeping with Aerosmith on the sly, should be a highlight in any future live set. Meanwhile, blues stomper 'Summers End' will probably be coming to a singles release diary and radio playlist near you very soon.
Yet it's perhaps 'The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners' and album closer 'Home Again' that separates this from the band's previous outings. The first, a dedication to the workers in the Beaconsfield mine collapse in 2006, proves the point that music can sometimes say more than words ever could, with its country, acoustic scramble providing a more moving dedication than some soppy Celine Dion ballad or ensemble cast of Bono/Chris Martin do-gooders. The later is arguably the band's finest hour to date, with Grohl refusing to follow his well-worn routine of moving from ambling dawdle to screaming finale with a flick of guitar pedal, and instead pens a heartfelt ballad over a measured piano line.
So there you have it. The great defining Foo Fighters record has arrived. While most bands would have sat contently and knocked out some greatest hits release and sat watching the cash registers roll, Grohl's team have put their hearts on their sleeves, dug deep and made one of the finest albums you will hear all year - or any other.