Review Summary: By progressing their sound, Stone Sour create an excellent album that leaves you excited for part two.
After disappointing fans with 2010’s ‘Audio Secrecy’, and with no sign of Slipknot returning, Stone Sour knew they had to make something special and against all expectations, part one of the House Of Gold And Bones duality triumphs.
One of the reasons this album shines is Corey Taylor himself. His song writing and his ability to tell a story has improved greatly since ‘Audio Secrecy’ and this creates a sense of intrigue, leaving the listener to guess where the album will go next and how the story will progress. One thing that frustrated me with the recent Slipknot releases was the balladry and how forced it felt but here, the ballads fit right in. Songs like ‘Taciturn’ and ‘The Travellers Part One’ show just how much Corey has improved as a vocalist. While there are glimpses of ‘Audio Secrecy’, they are vastly improved and are much more interesting, rather than annoying. The growls are still here, on the more aggressive tracks such as ‘RU486’ and ‘Gone Sovereign/ Absolute Zero’ but they are less frequent, meaning that this band can distance themselves from the past and make an album that succeeds on its own merits. The gang vocals on the chorus for ‘RU486’ really create a sense of urgency and excitement.
Former Soulfly drummer Roy Mayorga is clearly experienced and his style perfectly fits this band. This is also the first album without their original bassist Shawn Economaki but ex Skid Row member Rachel Bolan more than competently fills his shoes, with his deep, rich tone standing out throughout the album. During the early stages of the album, it was described by the band as a cross between ‘Dirt’ by Alice In Chains and ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd and that is most certainly evident, with the Alice In Chains- esque riffs present on the song ‘Tired’ (Obviously minus the epic dual harmony of Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley). I would go as far as saying that both parts of ‘The Travellers’ have an almost psychedelic feel to them (More so part one than part two due to the fact that Corey’s vocals are much softer).
The first songs released were ‘Gone Sovereign’ and ‘Absolute Zero’, proving to be a wise move. They are aggressive and are definitely more akin to the band’s earlier days, rather than the more recent output. This had me instantly excited for the album, along with everyone else. The only real downside to this album is the fact that it does feel incomplete but that point is essentially obsolete considering this is only the first part. It’s always possible to fly too close to the sun when it comes to double concept albums, but Stone Sour manage to avoid that and produce an excellent album.