Stone Sour : Hydrograd

It’s about time Stone Sour were back; we’ve missed them. ‘Hydrograd’ is out tomorrow and we’ve been eager to hear what Corey and co. have come up with this time. A rather big tweak in the line-up has occurred recently and Corey Taylor is slowly starting to challenge Dave Grohl for his nicest guy in rock trophy… Yeah, times are a changing.

So this is all just going to be Nickelback-lite, right?

N.B. We sat through half of a Nickelback show last year. It wasn’t pretty. They deserve all the flack they get, and some more… Stone Sour on the other hand, kick serious amounts of ASS!

We’ve been eased into this album by the band. Our YouTube has seen a lot of ‘Fabuless’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Song 3’ over the last few weeks, but there’s nothing like having a whole album to get your teeth into. Or, you know, to stream on your daughter’s iPad…

The dirty crunching riff and massive roar that opens up ‘Taipei Person – Allah Tea’ reeks of anything but “lite”, it’s a walloping front-end after the strange opening ditty of ‘YSIF’. Of course, there’s as much melody as there is aggression and the album is off to a catchy old start. The first ear worm implanted into the brain, then.

‘Knievel Has Landed’ starts off a little darker and almost industrial toned. Corey takes on a slightly deranged and claustrophobic vocal, but all complete with a big anthemic chorus once again. The fretboard gets a workout for a beastly guitar solo and all seems to be right with the world!

Then we are onto some of those aforementioned tracks that have been drip fed to us over the past month or so. They weren’t curveballs, they are representative of what Stone Sour are really quite good at here. Rollicking great hard rock tracks with the mood barometer switching between dark frantic bomblasts of venom through to highs of big arena filling anthems.

Those arena filling highs are pretty euphoric, too. And they no doubt come in handy every night.

‘Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)’ is a bit of a mouthful and has a bit of a different swagger about it. When it ends up in a pile of squealing guitars at the end, it’s quite glorious, but also shows that Stone Sour are going to try things a bit new here and there. The departure of Jim Root means that there are little occasional flourishes that you perhaps wouldn’t expect. When the album has settled in a little more there might be a bigger or more obvious departures and differences. At the moment however, Stone Sour still sound how we want them to.

It wouldn’t be a Stone Sour album without a little acoustic number that everyone at home can try and belt out into the hairbrush. ‘St Marie’ has that base covered and although it’s not quite a ‘Bother’ or ‘…Glass’, both of which CB can recreate with with scary professionalism (after a skin full), it gets emotions running high like a good ballad should.

All in all, Stone Sour have come back with a fully energised album. It’s aimed squarely at the mainstream as you would expect and ‘Hydrograd’ is bursting with sing-along choruses that will no doubt move into the set list quite easily. Corey’s vocal split personalities keep things heavy too and the mountains of riffs in this collection will have the old neck sore in no time.

Stone Sour: Successfully rubbishing the side-project tag, since 1999.