Sound — 10
The past years have seen Slipknot go on break after they have released an album and played on tours where afterward singer Corey Taylor and guitarist James Jim Root go and begin their recording sessions for Stone Sour. This time however has seen Slipknot go through the passing of bassist Paul Grey and while it is uncertain if his death has had an impact on Stone Sour's third album release, Audio Secrecy, it almost feels as though they are releasing their grief onto this album by channeling that energy into something that would have made Paul proud. It seems that not only has the band been able to surpass their praised second album, Come What(ever) May, but have exceeded it by leaps and bounds. The album is much heavier in terms of singing, guitars, bass and drums and that fortunately for many fans of Taylor's vocal abilities and Root's guitar playing, coupled together with the heavy playing of Josh Rand on rhythm guitar, Shawn Economaki on bass and Roy Mayorga on drums turns this album into something that many bands fail to achieve, an album that can be played over and over again and never grow tiring. It takes a lot to impress me as a music consort and while I've heard albums that have impressed me in recent years whether it be Metallica's Death Magnetic or Slash's solo album debut, I have not heard an album give this much energy and show a band dedicated to their art since the early days of Metallica or Guns N' Roses. It pours out such a fire that it's hard to describe and while it may have only one real standout hit with mainstream, Say You'll Haunt Me, the album as a whole is something that will never get old. From the heavy tones of Mission Statement, Say You'll Haunt Me and The Bitter End to the slower more in depth feelings of Dying, Imperfect and Miracles, Audio Secrecy is something that has a song for everyone and then some. In short, it's very hard to not listen to every song.
Lyrics — 9
For those who know of Corey Taylor they know that he is a vocalist that has a immense range to sing in and is known as a very great writer when it comes to lyrics. In Audio Secrecy, Taylor sings more about his own person feelings, wishes and dreams than he has done in Slipknot. However, since Stone Sour is not Slipknot in terms of heaviness, at least in my opinion, he sings more clearly and you can understand what he's saying from the first time listening to each song. That isn't a knock on Slipknot so Maggots for Life, please don't get mad. As it's been stated, Stone Sour is Taylor's band to begin with and he prefers to sing with more melody and feeling, otherwise for lack of better words, a musical outlet to share his ideas to the world. As for the lyrics, they never feel like they've been watered down and express a deeper desire to show his inner workings of what he thinks of the world and himself. Where they are most inspired and expressed seems to be in the first single of the album, Say You'll Haunt Me, which speaks of his feelings for his wife in such intense waves of passion its hard to find anything else to really say that could challenge it. That's not saying that he doesn't give it all in all the other songs as they still hold their own to show that one single will not hold them and back, that they will break out and show the world they deserved to be regarded as a song that has its own life in it. If you want the short version, Corey Taylor is amazing and the backing vocals are there to provide the background with their own intensity.
Overall Impression — 9
While many know that Stone Sour is simply an outlet for Corey Taylor and Jim Root to get away from Slipknot for awhile and express the visions they see, it's hard not to believe that Stone Sour could actually be a band that is on par with its darker brother Slipknot on its own merits. While Stone Sour may not be the primary band for Taylor and Root, it shows that they can create music in multiple parts of the musical range and create great music to go with it. The first two albums were great for the band while they awaited for their Slipknot brothers to regroup, but with Audio Secrecy it's now no longer just a side project or a creative outlet but a living, breathing organism that will have fans clamoring for the next album. Perhaps the reason to its success is that it is simply that, an outlet. By treating it as something that isn't as important as Slipknot, Taylor and Root have made it so that they can create music they love without having to worry about what everyone else thinks about it and thus making it fun to play. Or maybe they needed to let their frustrations of losing their close friend out in a positive way this time around and use it as a way to grieve. Whether it's that or the other, it doesn't change the fact that Audio Secrecy is easily a contender for Album Of The Year awards and everything else that comes with it. For those who are looking for a singer / guitar player duo to the likes of Axl Rose and Slash or David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen, look no further, Corey Taylor and Jim Root have arrived. Paul Grey would be proud.