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Album Reviews : Stone Sour – Hydrograd

By on July 15, 2017

Guided by the muse that determines my natural preferences for music Slipknot and Stone Sour have never been on a playlist in my media player, or in years past found their way into a permanent place in my collection of physical copy.

The obstacle to getting into bands with Corey Taylor up front is that his singing style on Slipknot recordings reminds me of the rambling yelling of a broken man who lost his last few dollars at Conrad Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast. I do like the Corey though. He’s outspoken, not afraid to voice an opinion and comes across as possessing a wry sense of humour.

Hydrograd kicks off with the dull instrumentation of “YSIF”. The band try and set the scene for what’s coming, however I’d suggest the listener skip that track as it adds virtually nothing to the album as a unit. It is a dire introduction as the first song proper (“Taipei Person/ Allah tea”) contains a bland opening riff that really should have been left on the cutting room floor. The chorus to this track really is a cracker though, as is the rest of the song. It’s so good in fact that if Messer’s Hetfield and Ulrich from Metallica were looking for inspiration I’d suggest they study it.

It was at this point that I started to hear Stone Sour as I believe the band intended.

The predominant theme across the album’s rock/ metal cuts is to juxtapose soaring choruses against dirge like verses. If you are familiar with Faith No More’s latter day work then you will know what I mean.

Every chorus on the album is excellent. Corey really should consider a parallel career in ghost writing pop music on the evidence contained throughout Hydrograd. At this stage of his career he understands what it takes to deliver a vocal refrain that is both memorable and ‘sing-a-long’ worthy, much like Weezer’s resident ingénue and songwriter, Rivers Cuomo.

Hydrograd is a release that is designed to reach as broad an audience as possible so there is the obligatory ballad and folk flavoured cuts. “St. Marie” is a little too Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for its own good and album closer, “When the Fever Broke” is all dim lights and whiskey on the rocks.

The musicians that comprise Stone Sour’s membership are all seasoned pros. If I were to add up the years of recording experience it would be well over a century and it certainly shows. The note selection, phrasing on guitar solos and rhythmic patterns all work well together. If I were to single out a musician’s performance it would be former Max Cavalera bandmate Roy Mayorga. His playing is inventive without detracting from the song.

I mentioned Metallica earlier. Without causing a ruckus, their most recent album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (’16) is already sounding a little tired and anaemic of genuine long term appreciation. If you are a fan of Metallica and other mainstream rock and metal artists, then Hydrograd will be an excellent addition to your collection of physical copy or choice of streaming service.

Band: Stone Sour
Album: Hydrograd
Year: 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Label:  Roadrunner Records / Warner Music
Origin: USA


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith