Sound — 9
Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor, easily one of the most talented singers in rock music, and 'Knot cohort, guitarist Jim Root, return with Stone Sour, their "other" project. It cannot simply be dubbed a "side" project, since the band has Grammy nominations and gold records under their belts and are so much more than an offshoot they work on in their spare time when Slipknot goes on hiatus. Stone Sour also have an array of hit singles, to boot, from previous albums in the form of "Bother" and "Through Glass" while Audio Secrecy's "Say You'll Haunt Me" is propelling the band at this current moment. The band is adept at melding melodic and metallic, and they sure inflict their share of sonic bruises with "Mission Statement," "Let's Be Honest" and "Digital (Did You Tell.)" Audio Secrecy is the most polished Stone Sour record of the three, but none of the edges have been dulled or blunted; Taylor is too intense ever be muted and his cast of players gel to form an ironclad musical curtain. Take a listen to "Unfinished" if you want to know what a Stone Sour punch in the face feels like. While many Slipknot worshipping maggots wonder why Taylor and Root go the Stone Sour route, it's simple; Stone Sour is an outlet for them to do their thing and to do something else, which is a noble and beautiful pursuit for a musician. Sure, Stone Sour are more traditional than their main outlet, yet the music is still heavy enough to scare the little kid next door. The songwriting is tight and memorable and a bit cleaner, which helps elevate the band a notch above their peers. Stone Sour's closest relatives with Audio Secrecy are Stone Temple Pilots and Disturbed, as all three bands have masterfully learned how to pit bone-shattering riffs alongside unforgettable choruses. That is not as easy at is sounds. Have you tried it?
Lyrics — 9
Corey Taylor seems to be in a better mental space and place on Audio Secrecy. But don't doubt that his enraged vocals can still inflict blunt force trauma with their power. He's more introspective and less an anti-hero on Audio Secrecy, and while he explores more mature topics and subject matters, he's not getting geriatric on us. He's just showing us another side of his dynamic personality. Dying is a ballad where Taylor's expressive voice is painfully immediate as he sings, You leave me suffering til I can't feel a thing / It's all I got when I want more. It's a simple but poignant statement that the dudes and the chicks that go to see Stone Sour live can easily relate to. When he repeats, Tell me who I am on Mission Statement, you can't help but wonder if he found the answer he needed or wanted to the person he poses that proclamation to. That's the richness of Audio Secrecy you are left with questions and any good piece of art doesn't provide all of the answers.
Overall Impression — 9
Some diehard fans of Taylor and Root's other band may be confounded by Stone Sour, but to not give the band a fair shake would be an incredible disservice to themselves. The rest of the band is tight as a pair of Jenna Jameson's pants. Drummer Roy Mayorga, late of Soulfly, is the rhythmic foundation, pounding the skins and sounding like monstrous and startling claps of thunder, all of which is complemented by bassist Shawn Economaki. Guitarist Josh Rand also adds to the album's heft. This is one secret you will want to share.