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It's odd that most people assume Stone Sour was started as a side project by metal behemoth Slipknot's vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root, whereas in fact, Stone Sour was formed a full three years before Slipknot. It's just that the latter's costumes, theatricals and nine-member ensemble brought Slipknot to the metal world's attention much faster. It also didn't help that both Taylor's vocals and Root's guitar work are highly individualised and characteristic, often leading to perhaps unfair comparisons of the two bands. With their new album, House of Gold and Bones-Part 1, the first instalment of a double concept, we hope the band has finally put that ghost to rest.
The album is a personal journey of getting over a tragic relationship, as is apparent from the sombre, though at times verbose, lyrics. The songs cover the entire gamut of dark emotions, be it pain, anguish, bitterness or self-loathing. But despite the pervasive sadness in the lyrics, the symphonic music and Taylor's powerful voice keep you hooked to the 43-minute album.
The opening tracks, Gone sovereign and Absolute zero, are a double hitter. They employ a hard-as-nails approach, with Root and Josh Rand spinning out a carousel of chords from their guitars, and percussionist Roy Mayorga beating the taut drum skins like a cop with a baton in a riot. And while the band's new bassist Rachel Bolan lingeringly thrums his bass, Taylor spits out his lyrics with menacing intent. But despite their extremely heavy sound, the two songs don't really set the tone for the album which drifts acoustically between the contemplative, the sonorous and the searing. Their disparate natures regardless, the songs smoothly flow like a river of molten metal. The next song, A rumour of skin, is another loud assault on the eardrums with Taylor amping his pitch. On the other hand, The travelers part 1 is restrained, with the guitarists turning to the acoustic guitar and Taylor switching to a softer, yearning tone. The next track, Tired, follows its predecessor beautifully, the strumming picking up a few notches, the drumming more apparent, and Taylor's jaded voice giving credence to the song title.