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The point was strongly made previously and reinforced with every subsequent studio album, Stone Sour are no man’s side-project – a statement that is painfully clear on new studio album ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 1’.
You can’t criticise Stone Sour for not evolving with each release. There is progression and attempts at refinement. The results might be mixed at times, but it’s an admirable quality all the same.
Predecessor ‘Audio Secrecy’ struck the ideal balance the band have always walked the musical tightrope on. That is, heavy moments mixed with melodic tracks. It’s a fine line. Very fine. Get it wrong and everything becomes muddled and detracts from itself. ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 1’ is about continuity and concept. It’s not an isolated, radio single type of composition. It’s an album in the true sense, with each song feeding off the next.
The production is clear but the initial impression is that this full-length jumps out of the gates in quick and impressive fashion but quickly tires. That’s not to say this is a lacklustre release. The above statement is perhaps overly critical, as the album has incredibly solid peaks, it just doesn’t sustain as much as the listener may hope.
‘Gone Sovereign’ and ‘Absolute Zero’ are a brilliant tag-team of tracks to introduce studio album number four. The latter is just Stone Sour in a perfect context. Heavy and well-paced, mixing brutality and simplicity, with Corey Taylor’s vocal versatility again a standout. ‘A Rumor of Skin’ is a hard-rock construction. The infectious chorus is more indicative of contemporary Stone Sour. Dare we say a ‘mature’ sound? ‘The Travellers Pt. 1’ is just a beautiful acoustic track, which reinforces the band have a penchant for the harmonious (‘Through Glass’, ‘Bother’ et. al).
As intensely as the first four tracks are presented, this charm is also the main issue. After the first 14-15 minutes you’ve seen (or rather, heard) it all. There are the ragers, the head banging periods, the melodic and the acoustic. The assortment is laid out in effective fashion. Anything after, while decent and respectable, are merely elements that can be found and traced in the opening stages. ‘Ru486’ though will appeal to ardent Slipknot fans and lovers of Stone Sour’s self-titled debut album.
It’s another precise and confident release from the boys in Stone Sour. For the most part it works, but it doesn’t have the well-rounded feel that perhaps some of the earlier works contained. Let’s wait for Part 2 before casting any binding judgments.
The full gloss and appeal of ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 1’ should become more complete when coupled with next year’s Part 2 offering. In isolation, this studio album is again polished and has some signature Stone Sour moments. It’s probably not the most complete album in the Iowa rockers catalogue, but it’s made up for by its sincerity.
1. Gone Sovereign
2. Absolute Zero
3. A Rumor of Skin
4. The Travellers Part 1
7. My Name Is Allen
9. Influence of a Drowsy God
10. The Travellers Part 2
11. Last of the Real