Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge or Hard Rock, Whatever category you want to put Stone Sour in, this 4th Studio album is the first part in a 2 part concept, (the second will be released in earl 2013) is a compelling album to listen too, quite different from any past albums. Recorded in tandem with the second part, tho they are going to make us fans wait until next year. And I think this album is a fantastic set up and tease to introduce the 2nd part.
Recording started in March 2012 with their record label, Roadrunner, at this time, Corey Taylor, Vocals and piano, stated… “This Album may end up being a double or concept album”. Fantastic idea, it has worked in the past for other big named bands. If they got it right. A lead up or introduction to a massive oncor. Corey also stated that this album will be a cross between Pink Floyd’s album, The Wall, meets Alice in Chains’s album, Dirt. Hmmmmmmm. Yes and no.
The vocals have improved some what since Corey Taylor’s last album, Audio Secrecy, which was released back in 2010, and even more improvement compared to when he was the front of Slipknot. His over powering, Grunge’esk voice has improved, a lot more audibly friendly, and his softer, clean vocals have dramatically improved, You can find a very good example of this on track 8, Taciturn.
James Root, Bands Lead guitarist and Josh Rand on Rhythm since 2002,, have brought back that classic Hard Rock sound with a vengeance. James is a huge fan Of Dunlop Wah’s and Digitech FX pedals and Josh relying on his trusty Hughes and Kettner Amps, they have almost revived the Slipknot Sound, but with that cleaner tone, wile still keeping the heavy and diverse riffs and leads and under leads that blend very well with each other, and very good use of the Wah Wah, not over done it unlike some of the other harder metal bands out there.
The Drums used in this album are an absolute fucking Jem. Roy Mayorga uses a very custom but acoustically diverse kit created by DW (Drum Workshop). Roy has been the main drummer for Stone Sour since 2006 and has recorded 2 previous studio albums with the band, but also has worked with other bands in the past, including being the main drummer for soulfly, but more recent, he has drummed for Amebix, Black President and Nausea, not to mention he is brilliant as a producer, helping other bands out such as Sepultura, The Splitters and Karouac, even doing film scores for blockbuster films such as Legion and shudder. And still is a very capable drummer, not the best but by far very competent and can come up with beats that fit seamlessly with any song he has the privilege of playing in.
New Bassist, Rachel Bolan (born James Southworth) replaced Shawn Economaki on this album as he decided to…. well…. fuck of in may, only 2 months into recording. He was the original bassist for Skid row. He announced on Twitter at the beginning of May “Horns way up this week, I’m in the studio recording with Stone Sour. Playing bass on their new record” he also stated at the time “Stone Sour’s new material is fucking fierce”. Although Bolan is still working hard with his current band Skid Row, nothing is set in stone about Stone Sour’s permanent bassist and a touring gig is up for grabs. So who the fuck knows. But aside from all this bull shit, Bolan’s style is very typical Skid Row, Very crunchy, and has the ability to through in some improvisation, although on a few of the tracks, the clean subtleness of the bass is very spine tingling.
Overall this album is something new that the band have never done before, almost going back in time and putting that long lost emotion that we used to find back in the 70’s and 80’s, remember those ballads filled with emotion from the likes of Kiss, Guns n Roses, The Eagles, Whitesnake. Yes I may have gone too far there but hay. It is reminiscent of Floyd, and you can tell there is some of that emotion you find from some of the Alice in Chains, but they have maintained that super heavy, crunch metal theme. And yes, Bolan was right. Fucking Fierce. The album its self is based on Corey’s fictional tale of a man faced with a choice of growing up or sheltering in the irresponsibility of youth. And this album has depicted that tale with perfect precision. The mood of the music, clashing with the unbelievable lyrics, and the amount of feelings you would expect if this tale was true.
In Conclusion: This album is bar far better than anything Stone Sour have produced in the past. Although you do get that hint of ‘Slipknot’. It is far cleaner, more work has gone into the production and assembly of instruments. Just over all very pure without any sound samples or Disc Jockey spinning and scratching perfectly good vinyl’s. The instruments do all the talking, and I hate to say it, but this is Fucking Awesome, I would have never thought they would be able to produce something this good. Easily 9/10, and you must get hold of a copy when realised. And I can’t wait till Part 2.
By Stuart Marsland
Sources: Stone Sour Facebook, twitter and myspace. Stonesour.com, Roadrunner Records. And Wikipedia