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Corey Taylor - CMFT (Album Review)

Monday, 19 October 2020 Written by Simon Ramsay

Solo albums from singers in successful bands often deliver musical departures that leave fans yearning for their quick return to the mothership. Die-hard Slipknot devotees probably won’t go crazy for frontman Corey Taylor’s debut, but that’s their loss. More likely to appeal to his Stone Sour followers, ‘CMFT’ is a celebratory collision of classic rock, blues, rap, country and more, with big riffs and bigger hooks powering plenty of fun-filled tracks.

Taylor may be in a boisterous, carpe diem mood, but he certainly hasn’t lost his outspoken edge. Prior to the release of ‘CMFT’ (or Corey Mother Fucking Taylor) the frontman claimed to have worked on the record with musicians who were much hungrier than those in his bands, intimating they weren’t as passionate about being creative as they were certain outside factors.

While that may surprise fans of Slipknot and Stone Sour’s recent output, it’s crystal clear that everyone on this record had a blast bringing these pleasingly varied, pumped-up songs to life.

With its streetwise Ronnie Van Zant meets Phil Lynott storytelling, and boogie-blast Lynyrd Skynyrd groove, Samantha’s Gone is a giddy tail of double cross and suspicion among thieves that typifies the record’s beer-slamming vibe.  

Likewise, Meine Klux is a deliriously metallic pop-punk freak out played with neighbour baiting, garage band intensity. The Maria Fire, meanwhile, is a cheeky jazzy vengeance ditty where Taylor croons like a satanic lounge lizard over swinging verses before score settling condemnation fuels its to-hell-with-you refrain.

‘CMFT’ may operate in classically constructed terrain, but it’s anything but formulaic as structural curveballs, astute stylistic flourishes and sizzling instrumental licks bring freshness and flair to the form. Opener HWY66 begins like a mythic Americana folklore tale. Staring down the devil, Taylor resists their pull before the track erupts into an earth-shaking riff and full throttle charge a la Social Distortion, with explosive tempo changes catapulting each fiery passage forwards.

Regardless of the style employed, arena-ready hooks always deliver the killer blow. From Black Eyes Blue, where a sun-kissed chorus heals its moody, razor-edged verses, to the  fist-pumping hooligan party of Everyone Dies On My Birthday and the redemptive countrified AOR singalong Kansas, a primal sense of togetherness comes from hearing refrains that, often belted out by the whole band, exude communal jubilation.

Aiming to showcase the full range of his emotional and musical repertoire, vulnerability also rears its head on the Soundgarden-esque Silverfish and piano ballad Home. Yet Taylor’s trademark anger is never far away. Boasting a skull-crushing wah-drenched riff that knowingly (and appropriately) recalls Rage Against The Machine’s Bulls On Parade, Culture Head attacks fanatics who use religion as an excuse to vilify and destroy.

Although there are a lot of great cuts here, CMFT Must Be Stopped is the only one that screams instant classic. A middle finger flicking, braggadocious monster that’s destined to be a rock club staple for years to come, its barrage of rap, rock and nu-metal smashes together Eminem, early Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson and Grandmaster Flash, apexing with a gargantuan, hugely infectious gang chant pay off.  

Taylor’s lyrics may be a tad impenetrable at times and his voice doesn’t always do the adopted styles justice, but whether fronting a band or out on his own, the straight shooting passion, conviction and personality he exudes, coupled with some fine songwriting chops, suggest that CMFT can’t be stopped.



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