Stone Sour – House of Gold and Bones, Part I (2012)

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Music

Before joining up with the midwest’s most dominate force in metal the last twenty years back in 1997, Slipknot front man Corey Taylor had a little band called Stone Sour. As Slipknot absolutely exploded on the scene, Taylor had little time or energy to continue on with his former band. Their were the albums, the costumes, the tours, the success…

For everything Slipknot had going for them the last two decades, they also had their bumps in the road. The band, consisting of nine members, were as known for their “taking breaks from each other” as they were their head-banging hits. Each time the band went on a hiatus, though, Taylor was able to get Stone Sour (in one form or another) together to write, record and promote a new record.

Slipknot’s latest (and continuing) hiatus – brought on by the death of founding member and bassist Paul Gray in early 2010 – has many questioning whether or not the band will ever release another album. They have had a handful of live performances since Gray’s death, but conflicting internet stories have sparked rumors that Slipknot – as a band – is basically over.

Even Taylor has stated that “Paul Gray would want them to continue and in that spirit he feels that they should, although he feels “on the fence” about returning to the band.”

Part of that conflict may have something to do with Stone Sour, who – predictably – have once again taken advantage of Slipknot down time to write and release their fourth studio album. This time, though, something feels a little different.

Where early Stone Sour albums followed the “nu-metal” recipe set in motion by Slipknot, it has become clear that Taylor’s intentions are to distinguish the sound of one band over the other. The metamorphosis began during Stone Sour’s last album, 2010’s Audio Secrecy and has completed itself in the band’s first of two releases The House of Gold and Bones, Part I, released October 23rd (Part II is scheduled for an early 2013 release).

For me, earlier Stone Sour releases were mostly filler material. That’s not to say they weren’t good, but they seemed to lack the substance and depth that many albums of the genres counterparts were releasing. They had plenty of crunch and screams – and were a nice substitute for lack of new Slipknot records – but as stated before, something is very different this time around.

Whether it was Gray’s death, or the realization that one of the biggest bands on the planet may be finished, Taylor delivers a monster of an album heavy on both music and intent. As the first album in the two disc concept, he singer stated “It’s really a morality play. It’s about a person trying to find himself, or herself. You know, everyone in their lives finds themselves inevitably at a crossroads when it comes to a personal evolution and whatnot, trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.”

Apparently what Taylor has found within the dark, deep abyss is some clarity and maturity that processes into eleven tracks of rock so powerful it will make you wish all the great bands broke up.

There is the heavy (“Gone Sovereign/Absolute Zero”, “RU486”), the cerebral (“Tired”, “Last of the Real”), the poignant (“A Rumour of Skin”, “My Name Is Allen”) and the sublime (“The Travelers”, “Taciturn”). When knitted all together, the album accomplishes all it set out to do: it tells a great story of survival with a masterful soundtrack made up of the band’s most successful efforts to date.

As far as Taylor is concerned, the lyrics lead themselves to an almost-farewell of sorts to Slipknot – but as long as Stone Sour keeps maturing and improving in the manner set forth here, it’s a divorce that most fans should understand, if not embrace. There is, however, more to this “story” of an album and more to the saga of Taylor. Unfortunately, wee are just going to have to wait for House of Gold and Bones, Part II to hear how both play out…

9/10

Tracklist:
01 – Gone Sovereign
02 – Absolute Zero
03 – A Rumor Of Skin
04 – The Travelers
05 – Tired
06 – RU486
07 – My Name Is Allen
08 – Taciturn
09 – Influence Of A Drowsy God
10 – The Travelers
11 – Last Of The Real

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