Pedal to the Metal

Stone Sour seems to get better with every album they release.

Written by Shantanu David | Published: May 25, 2013 3:36:02 am

House of Gold and Bones Part 2

Stone Sour

Roadrunner

Rating: ****1/2

$ 8.83 on amazon.com (approximately Rs 491)

Stone Sour seems to get better with every album they release. With the release of House of Gold and Bones Part 2,the culmination of the band’s two part concept album,we thank the powers that be that musicians have side projects — for Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Jim Root,Stone Sour has evolved from a side project to a fully formed musical entity with its own distinctive identity. Indeed,comparisons to Slipknot are no longer justifiable.

While its predecessor,House of Gold and Bones Part 1,was released alongside a short story penned by frontman Taylor,House of Gold and Bones Part 2 was released with the first of a four-part graphic novel series,published by Dark Horse and again written by Taylor,who is increasingly being referred to as metal’s renaissance man. Like the first album,the second part follows the adventures of the protagonist known only as Human in an unknown world,and the various characters he comes across in his journeys,after whom several of the songs are titled.

The guitar work by Root and Josh Rand is exemplary,well offset by Rachel Bolan’s lingering bass line. Roy Maroga proves that he’s not just a superlative drummer but also does some outstanding work on the synthesiser and piano. But the bedrock on which the band is built is Taylor,whose vocals determine the direction the songs take,and when he is not singing,he’s playing the piano for the remainder of the tracks.

House of Gold and Bones Part 2 begins with Red city,a haunting piano and bass-based track that opens the album beautifully,and sets its dark tonality. It becomes progressively heavier,with some ominous drumming and Taylor’s baritone swelling to a growl. The next track Black John is more old school,with emphatic guitar work and drumming and Taylor’s trademark vocals. Sadist,on the other hand,is much more experimental,with a melancholic,layered sound which again progresses to a heavier,even higher place,with some extremely serpentine riffing. The arrangement of Peckinpah is not as complex as Sadist,though it employs a stronger,more bombastic chorus line. Stalemate has piano keys,guitar chords and stellar vocals all jostling for top mentions,though the guitar probably comes out on top,with a formidable solo by Root,the best in the album.

Similarly,Gravesend is a tower of sound built on a fabulous foundation of drum and bass works. ’82 and The uncanny valley are more of the catchy metal variety,with some stand-up strumming,that sounds more generic and concert-oriented. In Blue smoke,the band pauses to catch its breath between heavy tracks and ends up creating a poignant two minute track whose stark sound progresses to Do me a favor,which was the first song to be released from the album. Obviously structured for radio and concert play,it is a stereotypical metal song,to be heard with much headbanging and devil’s-horn flashing,punctuated with sips of beer. The last two tracks,The conflagration and The house of gold & bones,are where the entire two-part album comes to a head. While the former is a pacy metal ballad using lyrics from The travelers (Parts 1 and 2),the latter uses the riff work employed in Absolute zero,all of which were tracks from House of Gold and Bones Part 1. Our recommendation? Turn out the lights,slip on the headphones and listen to both the albums together and enjoy a spectacular metal outing by one of the genre’s most exciting acts.

shantanu.david@expressindia.com

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