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Stone Sour - House Of Gold & Bones: Part 2 (Album Review)

Thursday, 11 April 2013 Written by James Ball
Stone Sour - House Of Gold & Bones: Part 2 (Album Review)

Iíll be honest, aside from 'Get Inside' and 'Bother', both songs from over ten years ago, Iíd never really bothered listening to Stone Sour before this album entered my inbox. I always knew they were good, but they just never entered my radar somehow. Now, Iím buying the entire back catalogue. That is how good this is.

ImageThe second part of Corey Taylor's rock opus finally hits UK shores this week, and it certainly starts in tense, furious fashion. Opener 'Red City' thuds along, slowly and deliberately, causing distinct unease and discord to the listener as it reaches through the speakers, pulls you towards them and batters you upside the head. This album is not for the faint of heart, but it never transcends that faint line where it becomes difficult to listen to. Itís a very clever line to tread, but one that isnít tread, but stridden on with style.

Stone Sour have been around for a surprisingly long time. Over ten years now since their self-titled album dropped and they have always shown themselves to be a deeply versatile, imaginative hard rock act, and this record is no different. There are some really clever movements at play here and each track has been carefully constructed to go along with the story as continued from the first part. However, Iím not here to talk about the concept, Iím here to talk about the music, and there are no disappointments here in that respect. None whatsoever.

Each track just grabs you and forces you to listen in a way unlike any album Iíve ever listened to before. Whether it be the deep darkness portrayed in the opener, the thumping and frantic guitars in 'Black John', or the heavy, emotional yearning coupled with tinges of anger throughout 'Sadist' and that only covers the first three tracks. Three tracks in and Iím pretty much convinced Iím listening to my favourite album of the year. Thatís how good this is.

ďIf I fail, if I fall, if I canít be free then I never was at allĒ, Taylor sings with nothing more than true conviction at the start of 'Stalemate', a track full of quotable lyrics, and some of the most aggressive drumming youíll hear attached to an absolutely face-melting old-school heavy rock song. As a reviewer, I often listen to albums and singles multiple times to grab the little nooks and hidden meanings in tracks to add to a review. This album I will be listening to multiple times just for pleasure.

Tracks like '82', while not overly spectacular, present a real toe-tapper. Or, of course, if youíre part of a live show, itís the ideal track to blurt the words to out loud while jumping about all over the place in unison with everyone else. Itís the perfect live song for unleashing some energy. Itís not the most imaginative of deal-breaking track on the record, but thatís no criticism. Then, if '82' is the simple live hit, then 'Blue Smoke' is the creepy guy standing behind you. Slow, pacing, uncomfortable with a real ability to send those chills cascading down your entire spine. Itís all a segue in disguise for the enormous 'Do me a Favour', especially when the bass takes over for the last ten seconds, but itís a perfect way to break the album up a little. While 'Blue Smoke' was difficult and deliberately designed to cause a few trembles, its follow up, is a loud, brash, confident, almost joyous piece of brilliance.

This is an album that absolutely deserves to be heard. It should be up there with some of the true classics released over the last forty years. Itís things like 'The Conflagration', the album's penultimate track, which could quite easily have just been a MOR ballad, but the subtlety in the piano accompaniment alongside the mournful guitar keep it right up there. And then we get to the closer, the title track of the two-part story. The conclusion to 'House of Gold & Bones: Part 2' is one of the most energetic guitar songs Iíve ever heard. It doesn't rest on its laurels, it just goes out there spitting venom for nearly five minutes to round off an incredible journey.

At this point I would normally sum up the record, but on this occasional I will just tell you to let the music do the talking. If you like hard rock and most forms of metal, this should be at the very top of your wish list. Iíve not heard anything this good in years.

'House Of Gold & Bones: Part 2' is out now. Stone Sour are back in the UK at this summer's Download Festival. Click Here to Compare & Buy Download Festival Tickets at Stereoboard.

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