Stone Sour's most melodic offering yet
Stone Sour is back again! For those that can remember Stone Sour's first CD, their self titled masterpiece, it is easy to see the progression as Corey Taylor and Jim Root, amongst their other notable performers, are taking this band farther and farther away from their other project, Slipknot. In the beginning, the two sounded almost exactly the same.
Today they are two very separate entities. Slipknot is the angry, fist pumping metal driven side while Stone Sour has grown much more emotional, and melodic. It's still angry every once in a while, but overall one could definitely say that Audio Secrecy has really calmed down since the last offering, Come What(ever) May. Fans should not be disappointed though.
Even though the anger is gone, Stone Sour still manages to create catchy music and darker, more haunting stuff that can go in so many directions that it appeals to more than just metalheads, as opposed to their past albums. However, those looking for Stone Sour's angry moments will be more than happy with the track "Nylong 6/6", an excellent pummelling track that blends the melodies and aggressions of past Stone Sour works.
The album opens with a short instrumental that mixes piano with guitar; much like how their last album left off. Suddenly, the entire tone shifts to a crunching, energetic pulse that really gets the adrenaline going with "Mission Statement". It's hard rock, more than anything, with Taylor's aggressive singing, which sounds a lot better than his usual screaming as he's one of those unique vocalists that can do both very well. The entire album, however, is mostly structured around the formula of this song (at least the hard rock bits anyway). The ballads are more on their own. Other tracks such as "Digital" and "Say You'll Haunt Me" (the first single off the album), blend the aggression of "Statement" with the catchy, fan-winning emotions of former hits such as "Sillyworld" and "Through Glass." While it may seem like Stone Sour has caught the 'hit bug' like many other alternative/hard rock bands have such as Cold and Staind, there's still enough slight variation and aggression between the tracks, such as the shouting chorus on "Haunt Me" and the fist pumping anthem driven beat of "Digital", to create more engagement between music and listener rather than passing it all off as 'sounding the same.'
The softer tracks, unfortunately, aren't that varied as far as the music goes but, on the other hand, it is some of the band's most personal and heartfelt work as well. Some songs are about love, others about separation, and others about hope coming or going. Most of the music is solely acoustic guitar, with Corey Taylor doing most of the singing and performing, but the rest of the band joins in every once in a while. "Miracles" has a 'western' sound to it that makes it unique and stands out from all the others, which seem more patterned off the first single Stone Sour ever had from their debut, "Bothered". However, it’s tracks like these that really separate Stone Sour from the Knot. You aren't going to find tracks like these any of the latter's albums... or the most part. Just like one wouldn't find aggressive screamers on Stone Sour at this period in time. It's clear that any hope of going back to the self-titled's days are out the window, and the band is going to continue in their dark melodic direction.
The only big issue, and danger, with Audio Secrecy is that the softer that Stone Sour gets, the more likely listeners will see less changes between albums. The self title was very close to Slipknot, the second album sounded more melodic and featured a great blend of aggression and melody, and here we have the most melodic offering to date. But, what's next?
Corey Taylor and crew are always hell bent on giving the fans a new album, and a new style, so their expectations are never let down, or met to a certain standard that may keep Stone Sour trapped in a particular genre or style. Their ability to keep themselves dynamic has always been impressive, but if they keep making jumps and leaps between albums that are as big as this, eventually they are going to run out of places to be 'shockingly creative'. Thankfully Stone Sour somehow always finds a way to keep being creative, either by lyrics or music, so let's hope that inspiration never goes away.
(Roadrunner Records/Warner Music Australia)