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Stone Sour

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★★★★½
(133 Reviews)

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  • While mistakenly deemed as a side project of Slipknot alums Corey Taylor (vocalist) and Jim Root (guitar), Stone Sour (Des Moines, IA) actually existed prior to the aforementioned metal band, dating back to its inception in 1992. Co-founded by Taylor and drummer Joel Ekman, Stone Sour existed for five years, rounded out by Jim Root, guitarist Josh Rand and bassist Shawn Economaki, before Corey left the band in 1997 to join Slipknot, followed by Jim Root a year later. In the year 2000, fate intervened, eventually leading to the reuniting of the Stone Sour members who, after experimenting with different band names (Project X, Superego, Closure), settled on original moniker Stone Sour. On August 27, 2002, Stone Sour will release their S/T, Toby Wright-mixed (Korn, Alice In Chains) debut album through Roadrunner / Island Def Jam.Emphatically pointing out that Stone Sour is not another side project or Slipknot clone, frontman/co-founder Corey Taylor goes on to describe the band as “old fashioned heavy rock.” In general, this is a fairly accurate description as the music has more than its share of melodic moments and old school characteristics, not to mention your requisite metal aggression, though the heavy parts present are much more traditional than the chaotic fury usually associated in Slipknot songs. In fact, the aggressive sequences found, while retaining faint nu-metal traits and the occasional double-bass, possess a more conventional styling, hearkening back to the days of Pantera/Machine Head monster riffage, classic Metallica-inspired thrash guitars, vintage breakdowns, and even the rare guitar solo. Completing the sonic maelstrom that is unleashed by Stone Sour is a heavy dose of grunge-esque/modern rock melodies, the occasional scratching provided by Slipknot member DJ Sid, intermittent samples, and even strings. Meanwhile, vocalist Corey Taylor showcases tremendous versatility compared to his Slipknot outings, exponentially expanding his range to include clean rock harmonies reminiscent of Alice In Chains, coupled with his trademark barks, aggressive singing/screaming and demented spoken word, though as a whole, the aggression has been lessened with a greater emphasis on melody & dynamics.With “side projects” becoming almost as prominent as the actual bands from which the individual artists are based out of – case in point, Down, which features members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, & Eyehategod; Chino Moreno’s (Deftones) Team Sleep and Tapeworm (NIN), etc – it is no small surprise that Slipknot, perhaps the most recognizable icon in Metal these past few years, features members who are trying their hand at life outside Slipknot. This includes not only the aforementioned Stone Sour, but also Joey Jordison’s Murderdolls (formerly known as The Rejects), which also features Tripp Eisen of Static-X/Dope, and whose album Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls, debuted on August 20, 2002. However, where the Murderdolls is more of a punk-metal, b-movie horror amalgamation of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Misfits, and Twisted Sister, Stone Sour features a sound that is closer to home, although their S/T debut is still quite a departure from what Slipknot fans are familiar with. Featuring thirteen tracks, Stone Sour’s debut album kicks off in recognizable fashion with the Slipknot-esque Get Inside, a super-charged metal anthem, complete with double-bass, psychotic vocals, and aggressive choruses. From there, the album ventures into more hard rock/vintage metal territory, including Blue Study, Monolith, the raw, semi-aggressive Orchids, and the driving Choose, while Idle Hands possesses a nice mix of Slipknot traits in chunk-driven riffs & seething vocals offset by catchy rock harmonies. While it is evident that Corey & company have not strayed too far from their metal roots, it is with such songs as the memorable, acoustic-like first single Bother, the old-school rock-inspired Take A Number, and the melodic/aggressive contrasting Inhale that the band truly shines, displaying a stark sense of melodicism, backed by excellent vocal harmonies. Rounding out the album is the catchy, loud/soft track Cold Reader, the dynamic Blotter, and the eclectic Tumult, while closing out the record is Omega, a spoken diatribe courtesy of Corey Taylor. As a whole, Stone Sour’s debut album is a pleasant surprise, for not only does the record deliver skilled musicianship coupled with well-composed songs and strong vocal flexibility, it also offers its own unique & diverse sound, rather than another version of Slipknot. Truth be told, Stone Sour is not exactly an original or artistically ingenious band, but they are a group that possesses range and substance, much more than anything Slipknot could ever offer. In the end, while fans will undoubtedly flock to Stone Sour because of the Slipknot connections, in time, listeners will follow the act based more so on the band’s own merits…

    Posted on December 14, 2009