Review Summary: The second chapter in the story sounds fuller, deeper and slightly more complex. Corey Taylor burns alive in the House Of Gold and Bones.
It’s hard to take this album for what it is by its own rights, since the band’s release of Part 1
in the same namesake, House of Gold and Bones Part 2
was eagerly anticipated by fans of this group. From one album to the next, the walking comparisons can’t really be helped, the record is different to the group’s first three records and stretches on the limits of House Of Gold and Bones Part 1
without breaking the stereotypes Stone Sour has given themselves. Corey Taylor and Co. is making a statement with their 2013 release. Simply, they’ll be damned before they conform to complete radio viability backing them and the music the band wants to make. That’s not to say you won’t hear a House of Gold and Bones Part 2
song on the radio, just more to the fact that this isn’t your usual brand of hard rock, allowing Stone Sour to further distance themselves from a repeating genre. Putting the comparisons aside, Stone Sour have managed to release an emotion charged and enjoyable record combining angst, melody, spirited tempos and an integral depth to their song writing that is hard to find in many conventional radio rock bands. House of Gold and Bones Part 2
has raised the intensity levels, despite showing just how balanced, yet creative this band can be. Part 2
builds on the band’s first chapter in the story and is relatively darker and more complex in comparison.
It’s fair to say that hard rockers Stone Sour have made a name for themselves. No more are they really considered a second musical outlet for Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root, especially after a few commercially viable albums (mainly in Audio Secrecy
and Come Whatever May
). It’s 2013 and on the back of the first record in the House Of Gold And Bones
series. Part 2
actually takes Stone Sour to a darker, deeper song writing style using a combination of well-placed hooks, heavier passages and a forbidding sense of atmosphere. In most cases, Corey Taylor would normally reserve his aggressive outlets to the likes of a Slipknot album, instead House Of Gold and Bones Part 2
sees this vocalist branch out from a usually laid back, romantically laced style into an even display of cleans and yells, while raising the aggressiveness of what would normally be a reflective record in a series of two releases. It’s this intensity shift that allows for Stone Sour’s latest release to connect with the listener, closing the story of a man torn at the crossroads of his life, with hard decisions to make. House Of Gold and Bones Part 2
is a surprise basket, straight forward tracks, anthems, ballads and a few tracks that mix things up preventing the record from becoming at all predictable.
House Of Gold and Bones Part 2
doesn’t exactly have a short run time. Its thirteen tracks finish up just over fifty four minutes providing more than enough shifts in sound and tempo to the listener paying attention to every word of the story. Just when you think everything has been worked out Stone Sour move away from the previous, hurtling into something different and unexpected. Stone Sour have got you by the ears, it’s just they’re not done with you yet. The album’s mastery comes in the band’s instrumentation. From the sombre and mellow piano lines of the opening track ‘Red City’ combined with matching vocal lines to the hard hitting ‘Peckinpah’ that still manages to include an incredibly catchy chorus line or two. However, the album’s highlight comes at the end. Beginning the title track with group chanted “RU4-86/ RU4-86/ RU4-86” which crescendos into the record’s most solid of riff-fests, ‘The House Of Gold and Bones’ is the culmination of the album as a whole, rounding out this twisted story but in the best possible way, Taylor’s vocals are spot on during this record and the string work of Root and Rand back the album down to the finest detail. Newcomer bassist Rachel Bolan adds a certain presence throughout the record, for the most part it’s simple guitar hugging but in retrospect all the bass needed to do was thicken this already rich sound.
House Of Gold and Bones Part 2
is warm, but is contrasted by the dark atmosphere the album creates. The mood of the record speaks strongly of the turmoil the persona has, but even without the concept this record could manage well on its own. What’s interesting and needs pointing out, is the album’s rather vintage sound. No, I’m not talking about the production, rather the added sampling and vocal effects. Apart from having a crystal clear, almost million dollar studio process the album manages to add a couple of radio samples (unclear, and mainly for effect) as well as screamed sections that recorded in such a rough manner that it further promotes the storyline of this concept record. This is a record that builds from negativity, ‘Sadist’ takes the minimal picked chord structures and crooned cleans to a whole new level. Taylor states “I don’t need much to show you/only enough to control you”. This track along with others describes the mentality that connects with everybody at some point. Despite the track’s formulaic, yet fluid structure it isn’t as safe as it first appears. It’s clear that Stone Sour are being far from innovative but thankfully, their building from where Part 1
left off. ‘Red City’ is a great indication of a band trying something out of the ordinary and pulling it off with a gusto not seen during any other points in their catalogue.
Interestingly enough, Stone Sour’s second chapter uses snippets from Part 1
, layering riffs and melodies twisting them into their own entity, this is not a simple re hashing “we’ve run out of ideas” mentality. Instead it shows a band that knows how to take what they have, and refresh it to a point where it is its own individual part. Overall, Stone Sour has created the best album of their careers, thus far. It’s not perfect, very little is but what House Of Gold and Bones Part 2
does have, it has in aces. Expert hook lines, in your face lyricism and an instrumentation that holds everything together, House Of Gold and Bones Part 2
is the magnum opus of the band. Of course the next big question is “What does Stone Sour do to top this album?” But, until then this record closes the book on the House Of Gold and Bones. Fortunately for most, it’s a book you will want to keep opening again and again. At times, the album sounds as if it was made for a larger audience, but it connects with the listener at a deeper level, transcending most other similar acts and making a name for itself, because of this and the close-ness to the listener the album shines. This is a band on the top of their game.