House of Gold and Bones Pt. 2 is the followup to last year’s Pt 1… or more accurately the concluding part of a grand concept piece. Via Twitter and Facebook Corey and the band have built a mythos around the whole idea, dropping little snippets here and there to build the excitement as the release date approached. It’s an example of just how bands should use social media to interact with their audience.
As a stand alone album, this is distinctively Stone Sour and once again we see the band walk the line between Metal and radio friendly rock with a dexterity that few can match. After the soaring highs of Pt 1., here there is a darker and more aggressive feel which works extremely well.
Always nice when something isn’t quite what you were expecting.
I guess that with the profile that Corey has he can do pretty much whatever he (and the band) wants, and in places here they certainly indulge themselves, without getting over indulgent. Tracks like Gravesend and Black John are fine examples of crunching heavy metal with riffs aplenty and proper old-school guitar solos while other tracks run much deeper, for example in the awesome The Conflagration we see Stone Sour bringing Piano and even a string section to the party, underpinning one of Corey Taylor’s best vocal performances…
And when you think of some of the stuff he’s done, that’s not something I say lightly.
It’s worth mentioning that, although Pt. 2 has a different mood and feel to Pt. 1, when you play the two back to back the conceptual and musical threads that run through the two albums become more apparent. The opener of Pt. 2 is the emotional, ballad-ey Red City which may not be what you’d expect to kick off a Stone Sour album, but listen to Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 together and it makes perfect sense… it’s not the opening track, it’s the mid-way-through calm before the incoming storm that Pt 2. unleashes.
Climax, conclusion, call it what you will, I do think that the two halves of the HoGaB story can’t (and shouldn’t) be split, any more than the two halves of Pink Floyd’s The Wall can. It’s the sort of thing that should be listened to as a whole, and taken as a double album, House of Gold and Bones is Stone Sour’s finest work to date…