Sound — 8
I had always thought that Stone Sour was a side project for Corey Taylor and Jim Root and only recently discovered that Slipknot had started as something they were doing on the side. Stone Sour initially formed in 1992, and performed for 5 years as well as released 2 demos. Corey Taylor left the band in 1997 to play with Slipknot, and then Jim Root didn't join Slipknot until 1999 so they weren't even founding members as Slipknot was formed in 1995. When they had some spare time in 2002 Corey and Jim decided to reform Stone Sour and brought the other original members back together. The original drummer, Joel Ekman, left the band in 2006 in order to remain closer to his son who had been diagnosed with cancer. He was replaced by Ray Mayorga, the original drummer from Soulfly. The original bassist, Shawn Economaki, left the band just earlier this year and while the bass parts in the studio were covered by Rachel Bolan from Skid Row, currently Stone Sour does not have a permanent replacement for bass. Stone Sour has served since 2002 as an outlet for Corey Taylor and Jim Root where they don't have to be completely heavy and metal from beginning to end of any album, concert, etc., but instead allows them to have everything from rock to hard rock, to alternative metal on the same album or during the same show. "House Of Gold & Bones Part 1" has 11 tracks and clocks in at just over 43 minutes, and is released by Roadrunner Records. The sound is fairly diverse, actually going between moderate rock and metal in the same song at some points. Rachel Bolan does a good job filling in on bass duties in the studio and Jim Root's guitar work is immaculate. The drums sometimes sound over-compressed to me, but just by a tad. The album is really a good example of what a hard rock album should sound like in sharp contrast to a lot of popular music that gets passed off as hard rock on the radio. The songs have hooks but they aren't over-dominated by the hooks; they just have their proper place in the song. Big choruses in several of the songs, a few heavier songs that go into the realm of metal and a few slower quieter songs mixed in. Fans of Stone Sour will not be disappointed. There will also be a companion comic released by Dark Horse comics as a storyline for the album, and an additional comic will release as well with "Part 2" of "House Of Gold & Bones" to be released in early 2013.
Lyrics — 8
Corey Taylor is a talented guy there is no denying it. The only issue I have is that because he fronts Slipknot and Stone Sour and they, at times, are very similar in genre it sometimes makes it hard to tell if you're listening to Slipknot or Stone Sour. His vocal delivery is diverse throughout the album from softer sung parts, to your average rock singing to a more metal-oriented screamed vocal. Corey manages to pull off all of these styles of vocals like a champ. There are a lot of shouted choruses on the songs on "House Of Gold & Bones Part 1", and I imagine this will be really powerful in live shows with the whole crowd of fans screaming the choruses back at the band. I was satisfied by the vocal delivery on the album. As a sample of the lyrics, here are the majority of the lyrics from the song "Absolute Zero": "The bloody angle, The symmetry/ Your cheap adhesive isn't holding me/ My mouth is a gun I can shoot/ I can show you the truth/ And I don't need a reason to lie to you/ No pun intended, No punishment/ If I offended you, you needed it/ Ideas are the bombs in your mind/ A fissure in time/ If you don't have a weapon, You can't have mine/ I can bleed if I wanna bleed, I can fail if I feel the need/ This face is my last confession/ This life, it feels like a prison/ Oohoo, I'm not afraid/ I'm giving into grievances again/ Your looking at an absolute zero/ I'm not the Devil, but I won't be your hero/ The catatonic, The sacrilege/Your primadonna's are a privilege/ My god has a need to react, It's as simple as that/ It's better to settle than face the facts/ One thing that I can't stand/ Is when the minutes fight the second hand/ I'll waste a lifetime's worth/ Just to cling to one more day/ No f--king quarter, No premiums/ The world is stuck in delirium/ Man is a four letter word, It's really absurd/ Stop - The hate isn't fake it's just inferred", and the chorus just repeats a few times.
Overall Impression — 8
My favorite songs on the album are "Absolute Zero", "Tired", "Taciturn" and "My Name Is Allen". My least favorite song would have to be "Influence Of A Drowsy God", but it isn't bad it just takes too long to build up. I hate to see Shawn Economaki leave the band, as I like to see a band keep the original members. I feel like when Stone Sour initially re-formed in 2002 it must have been awesome for Shawn Economaki and Joel Ekman because suddenly their ex-band members returned and kind of kick started their career because of their popularity in Slipknot. Since then Stone Sour absolutely proved their value separately from Slipknot, and I hate to see original members leave. I'm curious to see who will be coming in to replace Shawn on bass, and I hope they get someone who is relatively unknown to give them a chance to prove themselves. The album is supposed to be a loose 'concept album' with the story further explained in the comics to be released. Even so, I feel like each song could survive on its own merit so if you are an album person or you like just buying your favorite songs individually, the album delivers on both fronts. Overall the album was very enjoyable.