Monday, April 15, 2013

Stone Sour - House of Gold & Bones Part 2 (2013)

About a half year ago, Corey Taylor and the rest of the crew in Stone Sour released the first part of the two album long concept "House of Gold & Bones". The first part had some exciting music and it showed that the band had taken their music to a new level. However, the concept itself was very hazy and pale, which made the album weaker then what it could have been. So when I pressed play on "House of Gold & Bones Part 2", I was expecting a much clearer story in the lyrics and a further development on the musicality, two elements that could transfer Stone Sour from a mediocre band to a really interesting and deep band.

When it comes to the concept, I am still very unsure of what Stone Sour is trying to tell me. It really sucks that the biggest piece in this puzzle of an album is very rough around the edges, 'cause if you cannot tell a story, then you should not do a concept album. However, there is some light in this darkness. The band is releasing a comic series with the same name so, if you are like me and is unsure of the concept, then the comic should answer all your questions. But that does not mean that it will neutralize the fact that the concept is still hazy in the two albums.

The main difference from the first part is that part 2 is heavier and more theatrical. Just as Corey tells, Part 2 is more of a soundtrack album than a regular album with its theatrical references, which is in one way good for the concept. I can definitely see songs like "Gravesend" and "'82" in the big screen with their easy approach. And with that, I mean that they are easily put in the background, but that does not have to mean a bad thing. These kinds of songs gives the album a stable ground to stand on so the best songs can stand out even more.

Just like any other Stone Sour record, the band is trying with this and that, but this time it feels like they are going in one direction instead of multiple ones. There is a red line through every track. From the strong emotional "Sadist" to the fighting spirit in "Do Me A Favor", you will find a determined band that may have found their particular style. Yeah, I know that Stone Sour have had that sound almost from the start, but it is now that the sound feels somewhat complete.

It is a little sad though that the album does not really lift until the end when "Blue Smoke" stops playing (great Buckethead esque ending there by the way) and "Do Me A Favor" starts. "Do Me A Favor" shows a determination and attitude that the band shows very rarely. The drum beat is great and the groovy chorus is sure to be a fan favourite in future gigs. Then we have the respectful "The Conflagration" that is some of the band's better ballads (but it is not the best in this album, that award goes to "Sadist"). And finally we have the title track that wraps up the package perfectly. It is very similar to "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero", the songs that started "House of Gold & Bones Part 1", with its cool riff and enjoyable tempo. A very pleasant way to end the whole concept.

The "House of Gold & Bones" series will not be going in the history books for being one of the greatest concept albums in metal, but they raise the credibility on Stone Sour quite a lot. The second part is the superior of the two albums  mostly since the standard is higher and it is not trying to go in several directions at the same time. It feels like Stone Sour is finally home and can now look forward to a brighter future. But they are still a band that is just below the best in the business even with the improvements.

Songs worthy of recognition: Do Me A Favor, The House of Gold & Bones, Sadist

Rating: 7,5/10 Stalemates

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