Perhaps it isn’t stated enough that Stone Sour, a Grammy Award-nominated band selling over 4 million albums worldwide, are Corey Taylor‘s side project. Add the accomplishments of Taylor’s metal dominating band Slipknot – and in the frontman, we’re looking at one of the most important figure heads of rock and metal for the better part of the last two decades.
But Stone Sour, much like Slipknot; have always been far more than just a one-man show, and while Taylor has steered the ship with consummate ease, Stone Sour’s hard rock edge has resulted in songs that have been jaw-droppers in more ways than just vocally.
Hydrograd, the band’s sixth studio album, is perhaps their most flavoured album – that attempts to do more than just create an atmosphere of stomping rock, and instead bridges gaps between genres while never straying too far away from what gave them their popularity.
‘Taipei Person – Allah Tea’ has all the pace and attitude of classic punk rock while ‘Whiplash Pants’ is infused with enough metal edge that it could possibly have been a B-Side to Slipknot’s latest record The Gray Chapter. Chuck in the stripped back tones of ‘St Marie’ and ‘When The Fever Broke’ and Hydrograd is much more than just your standard hard rock album.
It comes with the territory of being a band with Corey Taylor on vocals that the frontman would be expected to not exactly run the show on his own, but steal it quite often – with his ability to turn a big chorus gargantuan, and an aggressive verse into a chaotic one. But Hydrograd’s emphasis doesn’t seem to rest solely on Taylor’s shoulders too often, only on the anthemic lead ‘Song #3’ does the frontman forcibly take centre stage, with its pulsing chorus and knife sharp delivery.
It’s guitarists Christian Martucci and Josh Rand who often pepper the record with ingenuity and quick turns. There’s an abundance of jaw bending solos that sit throughout Hydrograd which gives the record a true no-nonsense rock and roll vibe, which when meshed together with the mix of genres that can be found throughout the record, makes Hydrograd an album that at the very least can be respected for its musical efficiency.
Not quite swinging punches with the bands best work, but far from out for the count – Hydrograd is a hard rock record that pushes to be something more, and while the record lacks the kind of brimming star power that can be found on previous efforts such as their self-titled debut or more recently, 2012’s House Of Gold & Bones Part 1, there is still more than enough here for the masses to succumb to. Past their peak? Possibly. Time to call it a day? Absolutely not.