We’ve been waiting for months and months and months, and even when we were tipped off by the man himself in our 2016 interview with frontman Corey Taylor, we immediately looked forward to the release of a brand new album by heavy metal five piece Stone Sour. Today ‘Hydrograd’ was officially released and of course, Mojo20 are here to report… and it’s everything we expected it’d be.
Now everyone knows of his other band, Slipknot, and just about everyone will know of Corey Taylor and if you don’t follow him on Twitter, treat yourself, go ahead and click follow because he’s fantastic on it, and I’m sure the vast majority of you will be privy to the works of Stone Sour as they’ve been recording and performing heavily on and off since the turn of the millennium and not only that, the band formed in 1992, so if you’re not yet a fan, where have you been? Well, luckily for those that aren’t fans of the band, you have a whole new record to get to know and it’s with out a doubt the most grand sounding record they’ve ever released. It’s unquestionably heavy metal at its finest but amongst this there are tones of classic rock and it’s lighter and more fun that perhaps the music that Slipknot normally provides. Now I’m a huge Slipknot fan, life long and always will be but I’m going to attempt to make as few comparisons here because Stone Sour and ‘Hydrograd’ deserve to be credited on their own merit, but it easy to see how this differs and as I mentioned, it’s a lighter and perhaps more melodic version of previous offerings.
Now, frontman Corey Taylor may be known for many things but I believe him to be the godfather of heavy metal vocal work, flipping with ease between a scorching hot metal growl and a melodic harmony in the same verse. This is on show throughout the album and his voice sounds more powerful than ever. It reminds me of bands like Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine and American Head Charge, which adds a warmth and positivity to it. The album continually keeps you guessing and not even from track to track but for example ‘Taipei Person / Allah Tea’ is one of the heavier on the album but with a pop sounding chorus and a warped out guitar solo, all these things merge together and leave you never being able to skip a track because who knows what evolution you’ll miss. ‘Rose Red Violet Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)’ deserves a mention for its more down tempo tone and grainier sound, almost demo like, before then growing into a heavy metal-contemporary pop crossover, plus the name is brilliant too. They’ve got it all and you can tell that the work, effort and talent that went into the record from the whole band is at peak potential. Stone Sour after almost twenty years of releasing records are in their absolute and undisputed stride.
Other highlights include, of course, all of the four pre sale singles that you may have already come across in the past few months. ‘Fabuless’ is an absolute killer and as organic as our excitement was for the new album, this release had me climbing the walls, waiting for June the 30th. It’s a balls to the wall rock out anthem and features a chorus as catchy as anything I’ve heard in metal over the past 15 years. Plus the music video might have WWE superstar Bayley rethinking her entrance music. ‘#Song 3’ is much more of a ballad, or as much of a ballad as you’re going to get at this point. Not to say Stone Sour can’t do slow and sentimental, I mean, hello… ‘Bother’ anyone? Still, ‘#Song 3’ is definitely the love story of the entire album and despite a metal backdrop, its beauty is apparent throughout and the lyrics are honest and from the heart.
I could go on and on, it’s a great album, what else is there to really say. Some of you may already know this as the album was leaked a day early, and despite Taylor’s encouragement to go ahead and enjoy it, here at Mojo20, we play by the musical rules and waited that extra day, and now it’s here we think you should all go ahead and buy this album. Whether you’re an existing metal head or just a nostalgic old so and so, you’ll love it.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)