Review Summary: Stone Sour return with their follow up to 2010's album "Audio Secrecy" described by Corey Taylor during recording as a cross between Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and Alice in Chains' "Dirt" albums, will this latest offering live up to the expectation?
In 2002 Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root traded their infamous masks, boiler suits and on-stage antics for a much different musical project, Stone Sour. In the ten years since Stone Sour's debut self-titled album was released fans have seen the early elements of Slipknot which were evident throughout the first offering eradicated and replaced with a mixture of melodies and speed metal verses which have seen the band stray away from the typical clichés of both nu metal and alternative metal, whilst this style was at first in unusual in comparison to other bands of the same genre the albums which followed have placed Stone Sour as one of alternative metals best offerings.
Throughout the writing and production of House of Gold & Bones – Part 1 vocalist Corey Taylor described the record as a cross between Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and Alice in Chains' "Dirt" albums, after such a bold statement the album then had a lot to live up to. The question which struck many was how could an album live up with a comparison to arguably two of the greatest albums of all time? It's important to remember that the album is the first part of a double with the second part due for release in 2013 but will part 1 exhibit enough to keep people eagerly waiting for the second part?
The album follows a storyline of a man at a psychological and emotional crossroads and whilst the idea is both interesting and enthralling the music is not.
The album's opening track "Gone Sovereign" begins with an anger and venom that Stone Sour fans will be used to before eventually fading in to the radio friendly "Absolute Zero" and whilst it's not the best way to begin an album with the promise that came with it, it is an improvement on the band's last offering "Audio Secrecy". There's a feeling of mild disappointment as the third track on the album "A Rumour of Skin" comes to an end, it's a feeling which doesn't disappear as "Last of the Real" follows.
"The Travellers" is a ballad which won't live long in the memory and is more suited for a live show sing-a-long rather than a CD however as Part 1 continues in mild foot-tapping fashion it's slowly apparent that the second half of the album needs something to keep Stone Sour amongst the offerings of today's alternative metal. As "Taciturn" comes and goes as unforgettably as the first five tracks we arrive at "RU486" which is arguably the stand out track amongst a rather disappointing, deflating album. What follows is a slight improvement on the first half of the album however it's nothing which will make the album as memorable as the band had hoped for.
The idea behind side projects is it's a chance to unleash a new side of yourself and to show different sides to not only your personality but your musical ability that's not been seen before, it's something that Stone Sour have always been good at - making a fresh sound which completely differs from anything that the main project has done and whilst the album (barely) does this, it's not in a way which will make the album a classic or memorable for longer than a few weeks. It's something which the hardened fans of Stone Sour will accept following the band's last offering of Audio Secrecy but it's not something which will draw you in and keep you hooked, it would take the most dedicated of fans to try and convince you otherwise.
It is to be hoped that the second part of the album due for release in 2013 has the classic feeling that the album was described to have before it's release as well as usual impact that a Stone Sour album creates. Maybe, just maybe they've saved the best for last.