- Wed, 2010-09-15 14:25
Corey Taylor’s position as the singer of Slipknot is both his blessing and his curse. It has made him the most recognisable metal frontman of a generation, ensuring that people will always be interested in the music he’s making. At the same time though, his work with Slipknot will always be the benchmark against which some people choose to judge him. Those people are largely unlikely to enjoy Audio Secrecy. However, those capable of judging Stone Sour by their own merits are likely to be generally pleased with their new album.
Audio Secrecy is an album of many faces, with many musical touch points. Most of them are good, though a few are less so. The core of the band’s aesthetic remains in tact; heavy riffs, adrenaline-fuelled roars, scorching solos and huge choruses are firmly in place on tracks like Mission Statement, Nylon 6/6 and The Bitter End. On top of this, there are tracks that employ a degree of experimentation that takes their general blueprint and tweaks it in interesting ways. Digital (Did You Tell), for example, is an album highlight, adding touches of Deftones and Load-era Metallica to their usual sound, while the furious guitar work of Unfinished gives a slight nod towards bands like Killswitch Engage.
Straying slightly further still from their usual fare are tunes like Say You’ll Haunt Me, whose loud/quiet dynamic and energetic chorus has a distinctly punk-rock feel to it, Hesitate, which veers surprisingly towards emo, or Pieces, which at times sounds bizarrely like Puddle of Mudd. Despite the unfamiliar territory though, Stone Sour’s musical ability and song-writing skill ensures that, once the initial shock has subsided, the quality of the tunes shines through. Less successful are the back-to-back duo of Dying and Let’s Be Honest, both of which bare scary resemblance to the likes of Nickleback or Goo Goo Dolls. The poor quality of these two tracks is emphasised by the inclusion of Miracles and the closing pair of Imperfect and Threadbare. All three are stripped-back, reflective tunes that demonstrate beyond question that Stone Sour are capable of writing softer, more melody-driven songs without sacrificing their soul or becoming bland.
The adventurous nature of Audio Secrecy is to be commended. Despite the wishes of some Slipknot fans Stone Sour refuse to be defined by their members’ CVs, instead ploughing a furrow of their own. The result is an album of stylistic diversity that incorporates light and dark to good effect throughout. Unfortunately, the inclusion of a couple of dodgy tracks renders the album good, while a marginally slimmed-down version would undoubtedly qualify as great.