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Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones Part 2 album review

Chapter two of Stone Sour’s concept album does not fail to meet expectations, which were set high by House of Gold and Bones Part 1. The ambitious heavy metal saga features both hard hitting metal and rock ballads throughout. Lyrics depicting devastation and longing of the main character, a lone traveler, and are still sung and screamed with conviction by front man Corey Taylor. The shared responsibility of Jim Root and Josh Rand’s lead guitars chug through the verses and rip through the albums’ highs. Where House of Gold and Bones Part 1 led with many fast-tempo head bangers, such as “Absolute Zero,” and variously dips into the slower tunes like “The Traveler,” Part 2 finds a different niche with a mix of fast-paced rock and the slow churning, riff based, mid-tempo ballads with minor chords.

A cinematic piano riff and Taylor’s vocals start off this Stone Sour installment on the opener “Red City.” A slow building, ominous tone is set, properly foreshadowing what is to come. Thunderous, calculated drums pounded by Roy Mayorga are especially enjoyable on “Black John” and the fast-paced “Pekinpah.” Moments of Part 2 seem to nod towards a Deftones element of deep seeded heaviness. Stone Sour seems to be unveiling more elements of their identity as the album unfolds.

A break in the action comes for a brief twenty seconds on “Stalemate,” which is proof of their attention to the complete picture of the concept album. Corey Taylor’s vocals switch between growls and earnest confessions, proclaiming on “’82” “deep down there’s a devil inside, he can make you give up everything, settle if you want to die, or you can live for a world that must be free.” Stone Sour explores psychedelic phrasing with a few introductions, most enjoyable on “Blue Smoke,” proving their ability to push their limits.

Some surprises are saved for the end, as the band toy between their slow and heavy tunes.  Lead guitar mastery is achieved on the solo of “Do Me a Favor,” which also features welcomed dramatic vocal delivery by Taylor.  Up next they take a complete 180 degree turn on “The Conflagration,” which turns out to be one of the albums strongest and slowest songs with its “instant-classic” sounding rock ballad chorus. Here we find violins and smooth guitars make the desperation sound beautiful again. On the album closer, which is also the title track of both albums, “House of Gold and Bones,” Stone Sour drives us home with heavy distortion and Root and Rand’s shredding guitars.

This album attempts to be a heavy metal version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall meets Alice in Chain’s Dirt, as stated by Corey in an interview during the recording stages of the album. A graphic novel series of the same title, with writing credits to Corey Taylor and illustrations by Richard Clark has also been released on April 17th of this year. Corey stated in the same interview, “if I pull (House of Gold and Bones) off, this could be biggest thing we’ve ever done in our career.[1] As for the albums impact on a The Wall meets Dirt standard, only time will tell. House of Gold & Bones on the whole achieves what it set out to achieve.  Solid songwriting is backed by a larger than life sound. I think we can affirm Stone Sour have done the biggest and most ambitious thing they’ve done so far in their career with the House of Gold and Bones rock saga.


[1] Further Info

By John Hanson

John Hanson aka Johnny Rooftop is a musician and writer based in Boston. John has been focusing on his writing, performing, recording and sound engineering. Follow John on Twitter @johnnyrooftop, or visit john-hanson.com to stay up to date on all his projects.

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