With last year’s ‘House Of Gold & Bones – Part 1’ falling rather short of frontman Corey Taylor‘s lofty promise of “a cross between Pink Floyd and Alice In Chains“, the closing installment of the brace carries perhaps a somewhat oppressive weight of expectation as we look for a realisation of these stirring remarks. A decidedly more aggressive prospect than its predecessor, it’s certainly true to say that ‘…Part 2’ sees the quintet on the form of their career, even if it unsurprisingly fails to match the unrealistic comparisons it has been burdened with.
Indeed, from the morose crawl of opener ‘Red City’ (which climaxes on a formidably crushing height), there is a distinctly apparent swell in gloom which has always lingered on the peripherals of the trademark Stone Sour stomp. Although tracks such as the driving ‘Black John’ and ‘Gravesend’ remain lessons in staple rock commercialism, an undercurrent of metallic bite and a swarthily foreboding sheen sees an undeniable menace which offsets rather welcomely the orthodox mainstream thump we have come to expect.
Coupled with this, the rearing of some faintly progressive touches hinted at in ‘…Part 1’ again display a songwriting scope and a speculative engagement which sets them apart from the vast majority of their peers. ‘The Conflagration’ ambles between delicious string ripples and wandering guitar leads, whereas ‘Sadist’ switches from surging melancholia and towering hooks, complete with a wide-eyed instrumental wig out imbuing a exhilirant sweep of energy before a storming close.
Although there can be no doubt that without the magnetic allure and flavourful voice of their celebrated frontman, Stone Sour would struggle to deviate themselves from the common lot, the ‘House Of Gold & Bones’ double has delivered something of a re-definition from the band. Marrying their regulation oomph with flashes of radio friendly splendor and an intriguing darkness, what we’re left with is undisputed evidence that the band are, on their day, as emotionally intense and instrumentally absorbing as anyone else in the game.
Written by Tony Bliss