Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stone Sour - Hydrograd (2017)

Some time ago, Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger (or as I like to call him, the distant brother of Nicolas Cage), called out fellow hard rockers Stone Sour for being a light version of themselves, but not being able to write a hit song. Of course, this sparked a beef between the bands, especially the lead singers Chad and Corey Taylor, and while the beef itself is something I could not care less about, I just laughed my ass off of the original comment. First off, Nickelback sucks, and if there was a light version of the band, they would not last very long. Second, Stone Sour is nothing like them, they are heavier, and have more context behind their craft. Third, they do know how to write hit songs, just not for the everyman crowd, with some evidence being "30/30-150", "Through Glass", and "Do Me A Favor".

Ultimately, I think the music should do the talking, and with both bands releasing new material pretty close to each other, it is safe to say that Stone Sour won with a huge margin. It should not come as a surprise, but the new Nickelback album is more of the same, very simple, but hollow, songs that just does not leave any impact at all, and with one, maybe two songs that show some decent musicality, but those are always buried underneath a pile of unoriginal shit and pointless ballads.

Now, Stone Sour has not struck pure gold either with their 6th album "Hydrograd", but it is an album that has a lot of good music in it. While it mostly is not something new we are hearing from the band, it is still good quality to the craft that is presented, and a surprisingly steady flow of it as well. Even though it is not another concept album, like the two parter "House of Gold & Bones", it still has a lot of interesting stuff to say and mention (like in "Fabuless", where both Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones are referenced).

We do have a newcomer in the band, Christian Martucci who replaces Jim Root as the lead guitarist, and he does a really nice job actually, delivering some great riffs and solos (like the "La Grange" like solo in "Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)"). But as always, it is Corey who steals the show with his vocals, whether he channels a lighter Slipknot version of himself, or shows off his softer side, he delivers just as good no matter what.

However, it does not seem like the band has learned anything from their last two outings, because just like both "House of Gold & Bones" albums, "Hydrograd" is just too big, containing way too many songs. The album is just over an hour, and if the band would have trimmed it down to around 40-45 minutes, we would have a really awesome hard rock album. Now, it just drags out and does not seem to end anytime soon, over staying its welcome. Some time, Stone Sour need to realize that they play hard rock, not progressive rock.

At the end of the day though, I do enjoy "Hydrograd" a lot, and there are several songs in here that are great. Such songs as "Song #3", "Fabuless", "Whiplash Pants", "Thank God It's Over", and "Taipei Person/Allah Tea" are clear proofs that Stone Sour is not a Nickelback light, they are their own thing and they are pretty damn good at it. Now, if they only could learn how to constrict their material to bite size portions, the albums would be even better.

Songs worthy of recognition: Fabuless, Taipei Person/Allah Tea, Thank God It's Over, Whiplash Pants

Rating: 7,5/10 Friday Knights

More reviews of Stone Sour
House of Gold & Bones Part 1
House of Gold & Bones Part 2

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