House of Gold & Bones – Part 1
22 October 2012
by Raziq Rauf
This fourth Stone Sour album was described by frontman Corey Taylor, during its recording, as a cross between Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Alice in Chains’ Dirt. So it’s perhaps needless to say that it has a lot to live up to.
Comparisons with two of the finest, most influential albums in rock’s history are always going to present difficulties to the listener. How can a new release live up to such a billing? But, as the first in a pair of concept albums and also carrying a reasonable amount of grunge-fuelled grit, it is at least a decent expression of the ambition House of Gold & Bones – Part 1 exhibits.
Kicking off with ‘Gone Sovereign’, the album marches along with vague political anger before arriving at the melodic radio rock of ‘Absolute Zero’. There’s a reasonably sleazy vibe found in ‘A Rumor of Skin’, heard again in ‘Last of the Real’; but the only thing ‘Tired’ needs to fit perfectly in to an Evanescence album is Amy Lee. Whether that’s a plus or a minus, only you, the listener, can decide.
The schmaltzy, string-laden ballad ‘The Travellers, Part 1’ continues in arm-swaying fashion come its second instalment. But however bad these tracks seem, neither is as disappointing as the sub-Bon Jovi crooning found on ‘Taciturn’.
Slipknot’s myriad side projects are ultimately meant to allow the various members to unleash different sides of their undoubtedly creative personalities. But due to Taylor singing in both, Stone Sour is and always has been the one that crosses over more than the rest.
Watch the video to ‘Gone Sovereign’ by Stone Sour:
There are songs on Slipknot’s All Hope Is Gone and Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) that fit in with Stone Sour’s more wholesome sound, but there are no moments on this album that have enough power and passion to fit on to a Slipknot album. It’s not a comparison as such, but the lines have been blurred too much to ignore the issue.
Is this progressive? No. Is it grungey? Vaguely. It’s just 11 tracks of mediocre and easily forgettable American rock, devoid of any bells or whistles. But maybe they’re saved the best bits for this album’s second half, due out in 2013. Maybe…
This review originally appeared on the BBC Music website, and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons License.